California Expands Employers' Notice and Reporting Obligations
On September 17, 2020, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB 685 into law, expanding California employers’ notice and reporting obligations relating to COVID-19 in the workplace. In particular, under the newly enacted California Labor Code Section 6409.6, the requirement to notify employees of a potential exposure goes beyond guidance and becomes mandatory. Specifically, the new notice requires employers to take the below actions within one business day of a “potential exposure” based on a confirmed positive case of COVID-19 in the workplace.
The law also made changes to Cal-OSHA’s enforcement of COVID-19-related rules and regulations. AB 685 provides that Cal-OSHA can now shut down operations when, in the opinion of Cal-OSHA, a worksite or operation “exposes workers to the risk of infection” of COVID-19, so as to constitute an imminent hazard. AB 685 also modifies the process for when Cal-OSHA intends to issue a serious citation.
The law takes effect on January 1, 2021, and will remain in place until January 1, 2023. For further information or consultation, contact: Allan P. Bareng at ABareng@BoothLLP.com
The full text of AB 685 can be found here: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200AB685