AB 685 – COVID-19 Notice and Reporting Obligations

Key Points

The Legislature passed AB 685, which establishes mandatory COVID-19 notification requirements. Before being passed, the bill was updated to indicate presumption of retaliation for unfavorable employment actions and removed the $10,000 penalty provisions. Notification requirements do not apply until January 1, 2021.


The bill’s official key elements are as follows:

  • Requires employers or their representatives to receive a notice of potential COVID-19 exposure and take all of the following actions within one business day of the notice:
  • Within the infectious period, employers must provide a written notice to all employees and subcontractor’s employees who were on the premises about potential exposure.
  • Provide a written notice to the exclusive representative, if any, of the employees described above.
  • Provide all potentially infected employees and the exclusive representatives with information regarding COVID-19-related benefits they may be entitled to under federal, state, or local laws.
  • Notify all employees, subcontractor’s employees, and exclusive representatives on the employer’s proposed disinfection and safety plan following the Centers for Disease Control’s guidelines.
  • Unless required by law, employers cannot require employees to disclose medical information.
  • Employers cannot retaliate against a worker for disclosing a positive COVID-19 test, diagnosis, or order to quarantine or isolate. Workers who believe they have been retaliated against may file a complaint with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement.
  • Requires that the California Department of Public Health must make occupation and industry information accessible to the public on their website.
  • The Division of Occupational Health and Safety may issue citations and civil penalties for violations of these requirements.



Littler: California AB 685 Imposes New Notice and Reporting Obligations for COVID-19 Workplace Exposure

On September 17, 2020, California doubled down on its efforts to keep non-remote employees safe from COVID-19 exposure. Governor Newsom signed AB 685, a new legislation that allows the state to track COVID-19 cases in the workplace more closely. The law also expands Cal/OSHA’s authority to issue Orders Prohibiting Use (OPU) for workplaces that pose a risk of an “imminent hazard” relating to COVID-19, as well as prescribing exhaustive notice requirements during a COVID-19 exposure in the workplace. AB 685 also enhances reporting requirements to local health authorities in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak in the worksite. The law takes effect on January 1, 2021.


For more information on AB 685 and how it affects employers, click here.

Recent Posts

California’s Minimum Wage to Increase to $16.00 Per Hour on January 1, 2024

California law mandates that the minimum wage be increased in response to inflation. Specifically, California Labor Code section 1182.12 delegates authority to the Director of Finance to annually determine and certify to the Governor and State Legislature whether an adjustment…

October 2, 2023

Employers Are Not Liable For The Spread of Covid to Employees’ Household Members

The California Supreme Court unanimously ruled that employers owe no duty to prevent “take home” cases of Covid-19 and are not liable to nonemployees who contract Covid from employee household members who bring the virus home from the workplace. The…

September 26, 2023

Brunch Break

Join us in an opportunity to get to know your fellow WPCCA members for brunch at the beautiful Old Ranch Country Club in Seal Beach! This event will feature a presentation by Molly Burns, Environmental Affairs Manager at Dunn-Edwards, who…

August 3, 2023

WPCCA 2023 Mid-Year Legislative Update

California State Legislature has crossed the midway point of the 2022 Legislative Session. Legislators had until June 2nd to move legislation out of their house of origin. Bills that did not clear that hurdle must be shelved for the year….

July 25, 2023

WPCCA Construction Contracts 101 Webinar Series: Private Works Remedies

This 2 part webinar series on Construction Contracts will provide an overview on construction contracts and means to mitigate risks for contractors and subcontractors engaging in public and private works. Join our part 2 webinar on Private Works Remedies presented…

July 11, 2023