Amazon.com Inc. must pay $500,000 and change its practices related to notifying its workers and local health officials about COVID-19 cases at its warehouses, under a stipulated judgment called the first in the nation by California’s attorney general on Monday.
The giant tech and retail company failed to adequately notify workers and officials about coronavirus cases at its warehouses, according to the state, which also says Amazon’s notifications now will be monitored by the state AG’s office.
The judgment, which is awaiting approval from Sacramento County Superior Court, would bring Amazon
into compliance with a state law on workplace notifications regarding COVID-19 exposure, an update of which became effective last month.
“AB 685 is an example of how we can come together when a problem emerges to protect workers and hold employers accountable,” California Assembly Majority Leader Eloise Gómez Reyes, author of the bill, said in a statement. “I am happy that our Attorney General, Rob Bonta, is demanding accountability and transparency from employers who have been unwilling to follow a straightforward law designed to keep workers and their families safe in these challenging times.”
Besides notifying workers of exposure to the virus and reporting cases to local health agencies, Assembly Bill 865 requires companies to share with their employees information on COVID-19-related benefits and protections, plus their disinfection and safety plans.
The judgment targeting Amazon follows a first-in-the-nation bill signed into law by California Gov. Gavin Newsom in September that also affects the giant retailer by making it illegal for companies to punish warehouse workers for failing to meet quotas because of lunch or restroom breaks.
Amazon hasn’t returned a request for comment Monday.