The state attorney general said Monday that Amazon has agreed a settlement with California that the internet retailer concealed the number of COVID-19 cases from its employees and local health agencies. Amazon was accused of violating the state’s “right to know” law, which is designed to improve workplace safety.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta said that under the terms of the settlement, Amazon must notify its warehouse workers of the exact number of new COVID cases in their workplaces within one day and local workers within 48 hours. Health agencies will have to report new cases.
Amazon must also submit to monitoring by Bonta’s office and pay $500,000 to improve enforcement of state consumer protection laws.
“As our country grapples with the pandemic, it is absolutely vital that businesses play their part to protect workers now – and especially this holiday season,” Bonta said in the statement. “The people of California have a right to know about potential exposure to the coronavirus to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.”
Amazon said it has worked hard to keep employees safe during the pandemic.
“We are pleased to have resolved this and AG has not found any significant issues with the security measures in our buildings,” Amazon spokeswoman Barbara Agritt said in an email. The company has spent more than $15 billion to keep employees safe.
Amazon has long faced scrutiny over its treatment of warehouse and delivery workers during the pandemic. In October 2020, the company disclosed that nearly 20,000 of its front-line employees had tested positive or were deemed positive for the coronavirus between March 1 and September 19, months after the state attorney general and activist employees shared this information. Called to issue.
The release of the information was a reversal for Amazon, which for months avoided providing Detailed State-by-State Accounting of coronavirus infection. With this information unavailable, some employees worked together to compile estimates on the number of infections, using the company’s message alerts.
In September, AmazonThe pair fired in April 2020 after publicly speaking out against warehouse conditions during the coronavirus pandemic.