California’s attorney general says Amazon hid critical COVID-19 case information from its employees, putting them at risk.
“Throughout the pandemic, Amazon left workers in the dark about the prevalence of COVID-19 in the workplace and failed to share this critical and legally required information,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta.
He is coming down hard on Amazon for not following specific COVID requirements laid out by state law.
Those requirements meant the retail giants needed to promptly notify tens of thousands of warehouse workers about employee COVID cases.
Assembly Majority Leader Eloise Gomez Reyes authored AB685, which became law in September 2020 and established requirements for protecting essential workers.
“Workers who were exposed were often not informed they were working with someone who tested positive for COVID-19,” said Gomez Reyes.
Bonta announced a so-called stipulated judgment requiring Amazon to end harmful labor practices that concealed COVID-19 case numbers from workers.
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The judgment also orders the retail giant to pay half a million dollars toward further enforcement of California's Consumer Protection Laws. The judgment still must be approved by a court and some question whether it will have much impact on a company that reported a net income of more than $21 billion last year.
NBC Bay Area reached out to Amazon, which issued a statement saying, “We’re glad to have this resolved and to see that the AG found no substantive issues with the safety measures in our buildings. We’ve worked hard from the beginning of the pandemic to keep our employees safe."
Bonta says the judgment comes as Amazon braces for its peak holiday season and believes it will force the retail giant to do more to protect its 153,000 full and part time employees in California.
“No corporation is too big to follow the law,” Bonta said.