On February 10, 2022, Assemblyman introduced Buffy Wicks Assembly proposal 1993 (“AB 1993”)which would impose COVID-19 vaccination requirements on virtually all employees and independent contractors working in California, regardless of employer / company size.
AB 1993 will require all employers to require all their employees and independent contractors to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19. A person will be considered “vaccinated against COVID-19” if they can show evidence of either: (1) being “fully vaccinated” with a vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration or the World Health Organization or (2) having received a dose of an approved two-dose vaccine, and receiving the second dose within 45 days of the first. AB 1993’s definition of “vaccinated against COVID-19” does not cover booster shots or other additional doses.
In accordance with federal and state anti-discrimination statutes, AB 1993 establishes two narrow exceptions to the vaccination requirement for persons who cannot be vaccinated due to (1) a medical condition or disability or (2) a sincerely held religious belief, “subject to verification thereof.” However, AB 1993 does not explain how an employer will proceed to verify whether these exceptions apply – ie. what kind of documentation is required – but rather stipulates that the Department of Fair Employment and Housing must consult with the State Department of Public Health and the Department of Occupational Health to provide guidance on what constitutes a medical condition, disability or sincere religious belief for the purpose on the excretion.
If adopted in its current form, AB 1993 will require employers to confirm compliance with each employee on 1 January 2023. However, the bill also prohibits employers from retaining evidence of employees’ vaccination status without the permission of employees or contractors. In the event that any employee or contractor refuses to grant such permission, it is therefore unclear how any employer could hope to comply. From the date of this notice, AB 1993 is pending in the committee. We will continue to monitor developments.