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How Employers Can Institute Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Policies Under California Employment Law

How Employers Can Institute Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Policies Under California Employment Law

As many California employers re-opened their offices in recent months, and as case counts increased with the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19, the issue of whether to institute mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirements has risen to the forefront for employers and employees. Minami Tamaki has counseled non-profit organizations and other organizations on obligations and legal developments regarding COVID-19 vaccination policies.

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) has issued guidance to assist employees and employers on vaccine policies and compliance with the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”). Further details are available here. The “DFEH Employment Information on COVID-19” includes the following guidance:

  1. Mandatory Vaccination Policy. A California employer may institute a mandatory vaccination policy as long as the employer does not discriminate against or harass employees or job applicants on the basis of a protected characteristic, provides reasonable accommodations related to disability or sincerely held religious beliefs or practices, and does not retaliate against anyone for engaging in protected activity.
  2. Exemption based on Disability. The FEHA requires employers instituting a mandatory vaccination policy to reasonably accommodate any employee with a disability. If an employee requests exemption from a COVID-19 vaccination requirement on the basis of disability, the employer must engage in an “interactive process” with the employee to attempt to identify a reasonable accommodation.

    Reasonable accommodations that an employer and employee might consider include allowing the employee to work from home, putting reasonable procedures and safeguards in place to enable the employee to work without endangering the employee or others, job restructuring, and job reassignment.

    If providing an accommodation to an employee imposes an “undue hardship,” the employer is not required to provide an accommodation to the employee. An undue hardship is defined as an action requiring “significant difficulty or expense.” Also, if the employee is unable to perform the essential duties of the job even with reasonable accommodations, or the employee cannot work without endangering the health or safety of the employee or co-workers, the employer may exclude the employee from the workplace.
  1. Exemption for Sincerely Held Religious Beliefs. The FEHA requires employers to reasonably accommodate employees’ known sincerely held religious beliefs and practices. Therefore, if an employer imposes a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, and an employee objects to vaccination on the basis of a sincerely held religious belief or practice, the employer must reasonably accommodate the employee. Employers should engage in an interactive process with the employee similar to the process required in the disability context (see above).
  2. Documentation of Vaccination. Employers may ask employees or applicants for documentation of vaccination. However, because such documentation could include sensitive medical or disability-related information, employers should instruct these employees or applicants to omit any medical information from such documentation. Employers must maintain any records of employee or applicant vaccination as confidential medical records.

California employers are advised to follow local, state, and federal guidance on vaccinations in the workplace in order to ensure compliance with all legal obligations. For more information on COVID-19 regulation and developments, you may contact Minami Tamaki Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force members Sean Tamura-Sato, Lisa Mak, or Claire Choo online or call us at 415-788-9000.

*The contents of this article is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or medical advice. Information in this article may not constitute the most complete or up-to-date legal or other information. Readers should contact a licensed California attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter. Use of this website does not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader and Minami Tamaki LLP.

Minami Tamaki Law Firm and MTYKL Foundation to Donate $20,000 to Support COVID-19 Relief Efforts in India

Minami Tamaki Law Firm and MTYKL Foundation to Donate $20,000 to Support COVID-19 Relief Efforts in India

The Minami Tamaki LLP law firm and the Minami Tamaki Yamauchi Kwok & Lee (MTYKL) Foundation announced a $20,000 donation to support COVID-19 relief efforts in India.

The donation supported a May 27 fundraiser organized by the South Asian Bar Association of North America and others, with proceeds going to UNICEF, the Association for India’s Development, and Khalsa Aid. 

The Associated Press reported that India on Wednesday documented more coronavirus deaths in a single day than any other country at any time during the pandemic, while infections continued to spread through vast rural areas with weak health systems. The Health Ministry reported a record 4,529 deaths on May 19, driving India’s confirmed fatalities to 283,248. It also reported 267,334 new infections. India has more than 26 million cases. The numbers are almost certainly undercounts.

All of us at Minami Tamaki and the MTYKL Foundation mourn the devastating tragedy of coronavirus infections and deaths. Many of our employees and clients have been personally impacted with family members or friends who have passed away or been hospitalized by the virus. Our hearts go out to the South Asian community, and we hope our fundraiser will generate more awareness and support for India as it battles the virus.

“A Night of Light to Benefit India’s Covid-19 Relief Efforts” was on Thursday, May 27, 2021. The virtual event was hosted by the South Asian Bar Association (SABA) Foundation, SABA North America, and 20-plus SABA Chapters. The benefit featured TikTok comedian Zarna Garg, Asli Baat, the University of Southern California’s South Asian Fusion A Cappella group, and Reshma Saujani, South Asian activist and founder of Girls Who Code.

New Article by Lisa Mak on Whistleblower Protections in Advocate Magazine

New Article by Lisa Mak on Whistleblower Protections in Advocate Magazine

Minami Tamaki LLP attorney Lisa P. Mak authored an article, “Protecting Whistleblowers: Litigating Claims under Labor Code Section 1102.5,” in the May 2021 issue of Advocate Magazine.

In the article, Lisa writes that allowing employees to freely report and disclose potentially illegal practices in the workplace is an important tool in protecting other workers, shareholders, investors, and the general public from fraud, unsafe conditions, compliance issues, and other unlawful activity that may otherwise go undetected.

The California Labor Code has a general whistleblower-protection law, Section 1102.5, that can provide strong protections for employees who disclose or refuse to participate in unlawful activity at work. The statute reflects the California Legislature’s intent to protect whistleblowers, and reflects the importance of encouraging employees to report or resist unlawful activity without fear of retaliation.

Read the article here. The entire print issue can also be downloaded as a PDF.

Advocate, the largest magazine in the United States for plaintiffs’ trial attorneys, is published by the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles. Published since 1963, it is a peer-reviewed legal publication, written and edited by leading plaintiffs’ attorneys.

Minami Tamaki LLP’s Consumer and Employee Rights Group is committed to ensuring that the rights of workers are protected, including workers who report unlawful activity in the workplace.

Dale Minami Receives Norman Y. Mineta Lifetime Achievement Award from APAICS

Dale Minami Receives Norman Y. Mineta Lifetime Achievement Award from APAICS

The Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) honored Minami Tamaki LLP Senior Counsel Dale Minami with the Inaugural Norman Y. Mineta Lifetime Achievement Award during its Virtual APAICS 27th Anniversary Awards Gala Dinner on May 13, 2021. 

The Award was renamed this year to reflect the outstanding contributions made by Norman Y. Mineta over a lifetime of public service.  “Receiving an award named after one of my heroes is a singular honor,” said Dale.

The APAICS’ Norman Y. Mineta Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to a prominent Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) individual in the community. APAICS honored Dale with the award to recognize his service in devoting a lifetime to breaking down stereotypes and advocating for the AAPI community.

“You have continuously fought for the protection of the rights of people who have historically been discriminated against,” wrote APAICS President and CEO Madalene Xuan-Trang Mielke to Dale. “We hope to celebrate the work that you have done and continue to do.”

Founded by former Secretary Norman Y. Mineta in 1994, APAICS is a national non-partisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting Asian Pacific American participation and representation at all levels of the political process, from community service to elected office.

Watch Dale’s acceptance remarks below.

Gov. Newsom Appoints Don Tamaki to Reparations Task Force

Gov. Newsom Appoints Don Tamaki to Reparations Task Force

As the country continues to confront a history of racial injustice, deeply rooted in the legacy of slavery and systemic racism, today, Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Minami Tamaki LLP Senior Counsel Donald K. Tamaki and four other individuals to serve on the newly formed Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans.

The formation of this task force was made possible by the Governor’s signing of AB 3121, authored by then-Assemblymember Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), which established a nine-member task force to inform Californians about slavery and explore ways the state might provide reparations.

“California is leading the nation, in a bipartisan way, on the issue of reparations and racial justice, which is a discussion that is long overdue and deserves our utmost attention,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “Last year I signed into law a number of key bills focused on leveling the playing field in our society and ensuring that everyone has a fair shot at achieving the California dream. Today’s appointment of individuals with an expansive breath of knowledge, experiences and understanding of issues impacting the African American community, is the next step in our commitment as a state to build a California for all.”

The five individuals selected by the Governor to serve on this task force represent diverse backgrounds and meet the statutes required by law, which include choosing one candidate from the field of academia with expertise in civil rights, and an additional two appointees selected from major civil society and reparations organizations that have historically championed the cause of reparatory justice.

Other key factors considered for committee candidates included a background in economics and community development, health and psychology, law and criminal justice, faith-based and community activism, and an expertise in the historic achievement of reparatory justice.

The Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans (Reparations Task Force) will have a total of nine members, with two individuals appointed by the Senate and two members appointed by the Assembly.

After months of interviews and careful consideration, the Governor made the following appointments:

Cheryl N. Grills, Ph.D., 62, of Inglewood, has been appointed to the Reparations Task Force. Grills was recently chosen as President’s Professor at Loyola Marymount University, a designation bestowed upon LMU’s most distinguished faculty who already hold the rank of tenured full professor and are acknowledged leaders in their respective fields, having achieved national and international recognition of their work. In addition to her community-based research, her work focuses on racial stress and trauma, implicit bias and community healing focused on the needs of people of African ancestry. Grills has been a Professor of Psychology and Director of Psychology of the Applied Research Center at Loyola Marymount University since 1987. She is Commissioner and Vice Chair of the LA County Sybil Brand Committee where she has served since 2011. She was President of The Association of Black Psychologists from 2011 to 2013. She is the leader of the Global Emotional Emancipation Circles Training Team where she has served since 2009. She is current lead on a national Impact of COVID-19 on Communities of Color Needs Assessment for several Congressional Caucuses and national civil rights organizations. Grills was leader of the Emotional Emancipation (EE) Circle process under the Community Healing Network in 2009. Grills earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles and her Bachelor’s Degree from Yale University with a double major in Psychology and African American Studies. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is per diem compensation for not more than ten meetings. Grills is a Democrat.

Amos C. Brown, Th.D., 80, of San Francisco, has been appointed to the Reparations Task Force. Brown is a renowned civil rights leader who is one of the few students who studied under Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and was later arrested with King at a lunch counter sit-in in 1961 and joined the Freedom Riders who protested segregation in the South. Brown was awarded the Martin Luther King, Jr. Ministerial Award for outstanding leadership and contributions to the Black Church in America and was also inducted into the International Hall of Fame at the King International Chapel at Morehouse College. Brown has been a Pastor at the Third Baptist Church of San Francisco since 1976. He was a Pastor at Pilgrim Baptist Church from 1970 to 1976 and at Saint Paul’s Baptist Church from 1966 to 1970. Brown is President and a Member of the Board of Directors of the NAACP and Chairman of the San Francisco Housing Authority. He earned a Doctor of Theology degree from United Theological Seminary and a Master of Theology degree from Crozer Theological Seminary. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is per diem compensation for not more than ten meetings. Brown is a Democrat.

Lisa Holder, J.D., 49, of Los Angeles, has been appointed to the Reparations Task Force. Holder has dedicated her career to racial and social justice and systems change. Holder is a nationally recognized, award-winning trial attorney who has been identified as a “Super Lawyer” by Los Angeles Magazine for four consecutive years. Holder has been Of Counsel at Equal Justice Society since 2016 and Principal Attorney at the Law Office of Lisa Holder since 2010. She was Lecturer in Law and Adjunct Professor at UCLA School of Law from 2017 to 2019. Holder was Adjunct Professor at Occidental College from 2012 to 2016. She was Associate Attorney at Hadsell Stormer Keeney Richardson from 2005 to 2009. Holder was Deputy Alternate Public Defender at the Los Angeles County Alternate Public Defender from 2001 to 2005. She was awarded a Soros Justice Fellowship through the Open Society Foundation in 2001. She was an Investigator and Analyst at the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem from 1995 to 1997. Holder is a Steering Committee Member of Equal Opportunity 4 All Coalition and Vice Chair of the Child Care Law Center. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from New York University School of Law and a Bachelor’s Degree from Wesleyan University. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is per diem compensation for not more than ten meetings. Holder is a Democrat.

Donald K. Tamaki, J.D., 69, of Piedmont, has been appointed to the Reparations Task Force. Tamaki is known for his historic work serving on the pro bono legal team that reopened the landmark Supreme Court case of Korematsu v. the United States, overturning Fred Korematsu’s conviction for refusing incarceration during the mass roundup and internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and providing a key legal foundation in the decades’ long Japanese American Redress Movement. He is also Co-founder of StopRepeatingHistory.Org, a campaign focused on drawing parallels between the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II and the targeting of minority groups based on race or religion. The campaign’s current work is focused on the intersectionality of the Japanese American Redress Movement and that of African-American Reparations, with an emphasis on creating solidarity and promoting public awareness on the importance of advancing reparations for African-Americans. Tamaki has been Senior Counsel at Minami Tamaki LLP since 2020, where he also served as Managing Partner from 2006 to 2020 and was Partner from 1987 to 2020. He was a Self-Employed Owner of the Law Offices of Donald K. Tamaki from 1984 to 1987. Tamaki was Executive Director at the Asian Law Caucus – Advancing Justice from 1980 to 1984. He was a Reginald Heber Smith Staff Attorney at Community Legal Services of San Jose from 1976 to 1979 and co-founder of the Asian Law Alliance. Tamaki is a Member of the Bar Association of San Francisco and Asian American Bar Association of the Bay Area. He received the State Bar of California Loren Miller Award in 1987 and the American Bar Association’s Spirit of Excellence Award in 2020. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is per diem compensation for not more than ten meetings. Tamaki is a Democrat.

Jovan S. Lewis, Ph.D., 38, of Berkeley, has been appointed to the Reparations Task Force. Lewis is an economic anthropologist and geographer who researches reparations, the political economy of inequality, and race in the United States and the Caribbean. His current work focuses on the history and contemporary circumstances of the historic Black community of Greenwood in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the consequences of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre. Lewis is an Associate Professor and the incoming Chair of the Department of Geography at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has taught since 2015. At Berkeley, he has also been Co-chair of the Economic Disparities research cluster at the Othering and Belonging Institute, faculty affiliate in African American Studies, since 2015. He earned a Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Science degrees in Economic Anthropology from the London School of Economics and a Master of Arts degree in Administration from the University of Miami. This position does not require Senate confirmation, and there is per diem compensation for not more than ten meetings. Lewis is a Democrat.

The Task Force will select its own chair and vice chair and their work will be staffed by the Attorney General’s Office. Members will meet over the next year and conclude their work with a written report on their findings, along with recommendations which will be provided to the Legislature.

Today’s actions build upon the Newsom Administration’s work to acknowledge historic wrongs and combat structural racism and bias in our institutions. In March of 2019, the Governor issued a moratorium on the death penalty, which is unfairly applied to people of color, people with mental disabilities and people who cannot afford costly legal representation. Governor Newsom also took action to secure safe drinking water for the 1 million Californians in underserved communities who lacked access to safe water. He also took the historic step of formally apologizing to California Native Americans for the exploitation and violence our predecessors inflicted upon them, and he also announced the Administration’s support for tribal access to co-manage and acquire ancestral lands. Governor Newsom has also taken action to combat decades-long economic inequality by expanding the California Earned Income Tax Credit to millions, including undocumented Californians.

Minami Tamaki LLP Ranked on U.S. News ‘Best Law Firms’ List for 7th Year

Minami Tamaki LLP Ranked on U.S. News ‘Best Law Firms’ List for 7th Year

Minami Tamaki LLP’s Immigration and Nationality Law practice is nationally ranked again on the new 2021 U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” list just released today. The firm’s immigration practice received a National Tier 3 ranking for the second time, and a Metro Tier 1 ranking for the sixth consecutive year.

U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” recognized the firm’s Personal Injury practice as Metro Tier 1 for the seventh consecutive year.

Firms like Minami Tamaki LLP included in the 2021 Edition of U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” are recognized for professional excellence with consistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. To be eligible for a ranking, a firm must first have a lawyer recognized in The Best Lawyers in America©, which recognizes the top five percent of private practicing lawyers in the United States. Achieving a tiered ranking signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise.

Earlier this year, The Best Lawyers in America recognized Partners Minette Kwok, B. Mark Fong, Olivia Serene Lee, Suhi Koizumi, Senior Counsel Dale Minami, and Associate Seema Bhatt, which qualified the firm to be considered for the Best Law Firms list.

The Immigration and Nationality Law Practice Group of Minami Tamaki LLP offers expertise in a broad array of immigration services, routinely assisting employers and employees in obtaining temporary and permanent employment-based visas. The firm’s immigration attorneys also help individual clients to secure family-based immigration status through marriage or other qualifying family relationships. Partner Minette A. Kwok leads the firm’s immigration practice group, which includes Partner Olivia Serene Lee, Partner Suhi Koizumi, Senior Associate La Verne A. Ramsay, Senior Associate Angela C. Mapa, and Associates Dian Sohn, Judy Hinh Wong, and Leyla Mostafavi.

The attorneys in Minami Tamaki’s Personal Injury Practice Group fight for the rights of people who are injured or have suffered the loss of loved ones due to the carelessness of others. A team approach brings all the resources of the practice group to cases. This has allowed the firm to recover multimillion-dollar settlements and verdicts for their clients. Senior Counsel Dale Minami founded the firm’s personal injury practice, which is led by Partner B. Mark Fong and includes Associate Seema Bhatt.

Six Minami Tamaki Attorneys Recognized in 27th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America

Six Minami Tamaki Attorneys Recognized in 27th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America

Minami Tamaki LLP Partners Minette Kwok, B. Mark Fong, Olivia Serene Lee, Suhi Koizumi, and Senior Counsel Dale Minami were selected by their peers for inclusion in the 27th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Associate Seema Bhatt was selected for Best Lawyers: Ones To Watch.

Minette, Olivia, and Suhi were selected for inclusion in the practice area of Immigration Law. It is Minette’s seventh, Olivia’s fourth, and Suhi’s second listing on The Best Lawyers in America rankings.

Dale and Mark were selected for the Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs list for the eighth year in a row.

These individual awards qualify Minami Tamaki LLP for consideration by the U.S. News/Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” list.

For the first time, Seema Bhatt received a 2021 Best Lawyers: Ones To Watch recognition for Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs. These “Ones To Watch” awards are recognitions given to attorneys who are earlier in their careers for outstanding professional excellence in private practice in the United States.

The firm has been recognized six times on the “Best Law Firms” rankings, which are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in their field, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process.

Best Lawyers is a respected peer review publication in the legal profession. Recognition in Best Lawyers is widely regarded by both clients and legal professionals as a significant honor, conferred on a lawyer by his or her peers.

The Best Lawyers lists of outstanding attorneys are compiled by conducting exhaustive peer review surveys in which tens of thousands of leading lawyers confidentially evaluate their professional peers. If the votes for an attorney are positive enough for recognition in Best Lawyers, that attorney must maintain those votes in subsequent polls to remain in each edition.

Lawyers are not permitted to pay any fee to participate in or be recognized by Best Lawyers.

Minami Tamaki Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force Addressing Legal Issues Arising from Ongoing Pandemic

Minami Tamaki Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force Addressing Legal Issues Arising from Ongoing Pandemic

Minami Tamaki is receiving inquiries from employees, consumers, businesses, and community members regarding a wide range of legal issues related to coronavirus (COVID-19) in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Recognizing the need for reliable information and assistance, Minami Tamaki has formed a Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force to address legal issues arising in the ongoing pandemic.

The Minami Tamaki Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force is addressing issues including:  

  • Employee Rights.  Providing information to employees regarding sick leave entitlement, wage and hour issues, unemployment benefits, telecommuting issues, layoffs / furloughs / shutdowns / reduced schedules, and WARN Act compliance.
  • Health and Safety.  Addressing public health issues related to wearing masks at work, OSHA compliance, and retaliation for raising issues regarding employer obligation to provide a safe workplace.    
  • Refunds for Cancelled Events and Memberships.  Investigating legal action regarding cancelled concerts and festivals (including tickets purchased through sites such as StubHub and Ticketmaster), cancelled professional sports, gym memberships, and theme park memberships.
  • Price Gouging.  Taking action against sellers who have raised prices on major necessities to excessive levels to extract profits from consumers.  
  • Business Interruption Insurance Claims.  Counseling policy holders on insurance coverage of business losses due to coronavirus.  While some insurance policies exclude pandemics, other policy holders may be able to seek coverage protecting against economic losses. 
  • Commercial Contracts.  Advising clients on contractual issues, including “force majeure” clauses and whether parties are excused from performance of duties.   

If you have questions regarding legal issues arising from the ongoing pandemic, you may contact the Minami Tamaki Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force online or call us at 415-788-9000.

*The contents of this article are for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.  Readers should contact a licensed California attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter. Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information.  Use of this website does not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader and Minami Tamaki LLP.

Ted Lieu: Trump is stoking xenophobic panic in a time of crisis

Ted Lieu: Trump is stoking xenophobic panic in a time of crisis

Congressman Ted Lieu of California’s 33rd Congressional District authored an op-ed published by The Washington Post on March 18, 2020.

Related: The Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council (A3PCON) and Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA) have launched the Stop AAPI Hate Reporting Center in response to spreading xenophobia as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have experienced harassment and/or discrimination, visit a3pcon.org/stopaapihate to file a confidential report.

I genuinely want President Trump to succeed in stopping the spread of the novel coronavirus, and will do everything I can to help him in this effort. At stake are the lives of my elderly parents, my family, my constituents and many Americans. But Trump’s repeated insistence on calling coronavirus the “Chinese virus” is more than just xenophobic; it causes harm both to Asian Americans and to the White House’s response to this life-threatening pandemic. I served on active duty in the U.S. military to defend the right of any American to make politically incorrect statements, but as a public figure, I cannot stand idly by while the president uses his pulpit to exacerbate xenophobia in a time of crisis.

Trump claims that in using the phrase “Chinese virus,” he’s just trying to be “accurate” in describing where it’s from. But there is a difference between saying the virus is from China and saying it is a Chinese virus. In a time of unease and uncertainty, such language stokes xenophobic panic and doesn’t get us closer to eradicating this virus. Asian Americans have been assaulted or otherwise discriminated against because of such rhetoric. In New York, a man assaulted an Asian woman wearing a face mask and called her a “diseased b—h.” Also in New York, a man on the subway sprayed an Asian passenger with Febreze and verbally abused him. On the subway in Los Angeles, a man ranted at an Asian American woman, claiming Chinese people are putrid and responsible for all diseases. (The woman happened to be Thai American.)

Trump’s rhetoric adds fuel to the growing fire of hatred being misdirected at Asian Americans. The fact that he is the president of the United States, who is responsible for the well-being of all Americans, only makes his rhetoric even more disturbing. The leaders of both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization have warned that we should not use terms such as “Chinese virus.” The novel coronavirus already has an official name, SARS-CoV-2, and an unofficial name, covid-19. Injecting an ethnic qualifier to the virus is unnecessary and can stigmatize Asian Americans.

Against the backdrop of Trump’s unnecessary language lies the history of discrimination against Asian Americans in our country. From the Chinese Exclusion Act to the internment camps of World War II to the murder of Vincent Chin, Asian Americans are particularly susceptible to being discriminated against by the mistaken belief that we somehow are foreigners or have foreign ties.

Read the full op-ed by Rep. Lieu.