On February 10, Assembly Members Buffy Wicks, Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, Evan Low, and Akilah Weber introduced Assembly Bill 1993. AB 1993 would add Government Code Section 12940.4 to require an employer to require each employee or independent contractor to provide proof to the employer that the employee or independent contractor has been vaccinated against COVID-19.
The term “proof” means valid documentation of the person’s COVID-19 vaccination record and the phrase “vaccinated against COVID-19” means that the person is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by a vaccine authorized by the United States Food and Drug Administration or the World Health Organization.
A person would be considered “vaccinated against COVID-19” for purposes of this section if the person has received the first dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine authorized by the United States Food and Drug Administration or the World Health Organization, provides proof of that first dose, and provides proof of receiving the second dose of the vaccine within 45 days after receiving the first dose.
However, the requirement does not apply to a person who is ineligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine due to a medical condition or disability or because of a sincerely held religious belief that precludes the person from receiving a vaccination, subject to verification.
The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) is required to consult with the State Department of Public Health and the Division of Occupational Safety and Health to provide guidance to employers on what constitutes a medical condition or disability, or a sincerely held religious belief.
Proof-of-vaccination status must be obtained in a manner that complies with federal and state privacy laws and the employer cannot retain that proof or share, transfer, or sell that information with or to a third party. DFEH must provide guidance to employers on how to obtain and protect this information.
This requirement applies to both private and public employers in this state. On January 1, 2023, each employer is required to affirm that each employee or independent contractor is in compliance with this section, and that each new employee or independent contractor is in compliance with this section at the time of hiring or contracting with that person.
DFEH is required to impose an unspecified (to be added to the bill at a later date) financial penalty on an employer who violates this section.
There is a legislative finding and declaration that protecting the public health and well-being of the people of California by requiring proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for employment is a matter of statewide concern and therefore applies to all cities, including charter cities.
Finally, this section of law is to remain in effect until the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices determines that COVID-19 vaccinations are no longer necessary for the health and safety of individuals.
AB 1993 will likely be heard in policy committee in March.