US | COVID-19 | California: Governor Newsom Signs COVID-19 Workplace Exposure Notice Bill

On September 17, 2020 California Governor Newsom signed into law AB 685, which adds section 6409.6 to the Labor Code plus additional requirements to section 6325. The statute requires that employers notify employees and, in certain instances, public health officials about COVID-19 exposures at work. The requirements do not go into effect until January 1, 2021.

Section 6409.6 requires that employers take the following steps within one business day of notice of a potential exposure in the workplace:

  • Provide written notice to all employees (and employers of subcontracted employees), who were on the premises at the same “worksite” as the infected or potentially infected individual that they may have been exposed to COVID-19.
  • Provide a written notice of the exposure or potential exposure to any union, if any.
  • Provide all potentially exposed employees and any union, if any, with information regarding COVID-19-related benefits, as well as the anti-retaliation and anti-discrimination protections under California law.
  • Notify all employees, and the employers of subcontracted employees and the exclusive representative, if any, on the disinfection and safety plan that the employer plans to implement and complete, per CDC guidelines.

Employers are also required to notify the local public health agency of the names, number, occupation, and worksite of each employee with COVID-19 within 48 hours of being notified of the number of cases that meet the State Department of Public Health’s definition of a COVID-19 outbreak.

The new paragraphs added to Section 6325 allows Cal/OSHA to prohibit the performance of process or activities or entry into any place of employment where those activities are occurring if they expose workers to COVID-19. It also allows Cal/OSHA to require employers to post notice of those hazards in workplaces.

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Sources:COVID-19: imminent hazard to employees: exposure: notification: serious violations, AB 685, September 17, 2020. 

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