Amazon will pay $500,000 to support enforcement of California consumer protection laws after the company was accused by the state attorney general of hiding COVID-19 infections among employees.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta said Monday that the state and Amazon have come to an agreement to resolve an earlier complaint filed by Bonta’s office about allegations of inadequate virus reporting in the workplace. agreement, according to a press release from Bonta’s office, on November 12, must receive court approval.
In Bonta’s initial complaint, the attorney general alleged that there were “multiple instances” in which Amazon did not inform workers of potential exposure to the virus within one business day, which the company is required to do under California labor laws. Necessary. The company is also required to provide workers exposed to COVID-19 with information about virus-related benefits provided by local, state and federal laws, for which Bonta alleged that the company completely did not comply.
Amazon sent written notifications about COVID-19 infections to its employees and employers of sub-contracted employees, but those notifications “do not specify the total number of COVID-19 cases covered by the notification.” are” as required by the state labor laws, the complaint said.
State labor laws have been amended over the years to provide additional protection to workers amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. An amendment, known as the “right to know” law, was signed by California Governor Gavin Newsom in September 2020. It requires employers to report virus outbreaks to local health authorities and notify employees of reported infections within one business day.
Bonta’s office said Amazon “failed to adequately notify warehouse workers and local health agencies of COVID-19 case numbers during the pandemic, often leaving them in the dark and effectively limiting the spread of the virus.” Unable to track.”
The agreement requires Amazon to end what Bonta’s office described as ,Harmful labor practices.” As part of the agreement, the company is required to inform workers within one business day of the specific number of newly reported virus infections, provide more information about disinfection efforts and virus-related benefits, and allow the public Health officials will need to be alerted “within 48 hours” of new infections so they can intervene in potential workplace outbreaks.
Bonta’s office will be able to review Amazon’s dissemination of virus-related notifications going forward, the release said.
“Today’s first-of-its-kind decision will help ensure that Amazon meets that need for its thousands of warehouse workers across California,” Bonta said in the release. “Bottom line: Californians have a right to know about potential exposure to the coronavirus to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.”
newsweek reached out to Amazon for comment.