California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Executive Order N-62-20—way back on May 6, 2020—which created a presumption that employees’ COVID-19-related illnesses were caused at work and therefore covered by workers’ compensation. That order covered COVID-19 infections from March 19, 2020 to July 5, 2020, at which time the order expired. To fill the void, on September 17, 2020, Gov. Newsom signed Senate Bill (“SB”) 1159 and Assembly Bill (“AB”) 685 into law.

SB 1159 resets the rebuttable presumption establishing workers’ compensation benefits for certain employees who contract COVID-19. At the same time, California passed AB 685, which allows the state to more closely track COVID-19 cases in the workplace by requiring employers to timely report COVID-19 related exposure information to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“Cal/OSHA”). AB 685 also requires employers to provide notice to employees of workplace COVID-19 exposures.

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Photo of Ryan Abernethy Ryan Abernethy

Ryan Abernethy is a senior attorney in the firm’s Labor & Employment and Litigation practice groups. Ryan has successfully represented clients in all areas of employment law including the defense of claims involving workplace discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, wage and hour issues…

Ryan Abernethy is a senior attorney in the firm’s Labor & Employment and Litigation practice groups. Ryan has successfully represented clients in all areas of employment law including the defense of claims involving workplace discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, wage and hour issues, trade secrets infringements and class actions.  He also regularly counsels clients regarding compliance, risk management, policy preparation and training.