Employer-Guidance-on-AB-685-Definitions Employer Guidance on AB 685 Definitions

​​​​Note:Thisguidance is no longer in effect and is for historical purposes only. Employers should consult Labor Code 6409.6 and the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Non-Emergency Regulations to ensure that they are in compliance with current requirements regarding employee notification of COVID-19 cases in the workplace.    

Employer Guidance on AB 685 Definitions


AB 685 (Chapter 84, Statutes of 2020) is a California law that requires employers to notify employees who may have been exposed to COVID-19 and to report workplace outbreaks of COVID-19 to the local health department.
In its requirements for employers, AB 685 refers to terms "as defined by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH)." CDPH definitions for these terms are below. CDPH also uses these terms in other contexts; the definitions here are intended for employer use in relation to AB 685.

  1.  COVID-19 outbreak:
    • A COVID-19 outbreak in a non-healthcare workplace is defined as at least three COVID-19 cases among workers at the same worksite within a 14-day period.
      • Under AB 685, a COVID-19 case is someone who:
        • Has a positive viral test for COVID-19,
        • Is diagnosed with COVID-19 by a licensed health care provider,
        • Is ordered to isolate for COVID-19 by a public health official, OR
        • Dies due to COVID-19, as determined by a public health department.
    • Under AB 685 Section 4 (Labor Code Section 6409.6, subsection (a)(4(b)), if an employer or their representative is notified of the number of cases meeting the definition of a COVID-19 outbreak, they must notify the local public health agency in the jurisdiction where the worksite is located.
    • Non-healthcare employers must therefore report to the local public health agency when three or more workers with COVID-19 are identified within a 14-day period.
    • Health facilities, who are exempt from AB 685's mandate to report outbreaks to local health departments, should follow CDPH reporting guidance for healthcare facilities.
  2. Infectious period:
  3. Laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19:

    • A laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19 is defined as a positive result on any viral test for COVID-19.[1]

Please see CDPH's Employer Questions about AB 685 web page for additional information about AB 685 requirements.


[1] At time of writing, includes nucleic acid (PCR) and antigen tests.


Originally Published on October 16, 2020