State Attorney General Rob Bonta announced a judgement Monday requiring Amazon to notify its workers within 24 hours and local health officials within 48 hours when COVID-19 cases are confirmed in the e-commerce giant’s warehouses.
According to the state’s legal complaint against Amazon, the company has issued notices of potential COVID-19 exposure to employees that do not include how many cases have been confirmed in a workplace.
The notices also did not include information about COVID-related benefits like sick leave for exposed employees and protections against workplace retaliation and discrimination.
The judgement against Amazon will, in addition to requiring the company to notify workers and local officials how many cases have been confirmed in a given workplace, require the company to submit to monitoring by Bonta’s office and pay a $500,000 fine toward the further enforcement of workplace protection efforts by the state.
“As the company enjoyed booming and historic sales, with its stock price doubling, Amazon failed to adequately notify warehouse workers and local health agencies of COVID-19 case numbers, often leaving them unable to effectively track the spread of the virus,” Bonta said Monday during a briefing on the judgement.
As part of the judgement, Amazon will also be required to modify its notices of exposure to include information regarding benefits related to the virus, as required by this year’s Assembly Bill 685.
The judgement is still subject to court approval, according to Bonta’s office.
“In the United States, we all play by the same rules,” Bonta said. “Whether you’re a small business or a global e-commerce giant, in California, you don’t get to choose which laws you want to follow, especially when it comes to COVID-19 – a matter of life and death.”