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Employee "Right to Know"

Assembly Bill 685 (Chapter 84, Statutes of 2020) is a new California law that:

  • Requires employers to notify employees who may have been exposed to COVID-19 and to report workplace outbreaks to the local health department.

  • Requires the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to publicly report information on workplace outbreaks by industry.

  • Applies to all public and private employers in California, except health facilities.

Employers are required to report workplace outbreaks to local health departments.

  • When non-healthcare employers identify 3 or more cases of COVID-19 at a worksite within a 14-day period, they are required to report this to their local health department within 48 hours.

    • Although AB 685 does not go into effect until January 1, 2021, a similar reporting requirement is already in effect under CDPH guidance, so employers must follow it now.

  • Employers are required to report the following information to the local health department:

    • Name and address of the worksite

    • Number of cases

    • Names and occupations of workers with COVID-19

    • North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code of worksite. This is a 6-digit numeric code that classifies businesses by industry.

  • Local health departments may also require employers to report additional information as part of their outbreak investigation.

  • Employers are also required to continue notifying the local health department if additional cases are identified at the worksite.

  • Local health departments can decide the best mechanism for collecting this information from employers.

What information about workplace outbreaks are health departments required to share publicly?

  • Starting in January 2021, AB 685 will require CDPH to share statewide information about workplace outbreaks by industry. This information will be posted on the CDPH website.

  • Local health departments will be required to provide a link to this information on the CDPH website on their own websites.

  • Local health departments are not required to publicly post information about outbreaks by industry within their own jurisdictions, but may choose to do so voluntarily.

Additional resources for local health departments and employers:

Local health departments can contact the CDPH Occupational Health Branch at any time with questions or requests for assistance regarding workplace COVID-19 outbreaks.


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