A California court has approved a settlement between the state attorney general’s office and Amazon, over claims that the company concealed information from workers and local health agencies about coronavirus infections in its warehouses.
A “right-to-know” law that was passed in September 2020 requires companies in the state to keep workers informed about the spread of the virus among the workforceTo provide safety plans for their employees as well as COVID benefits. Rob Bonta, the California Attorney General, stated that Amazon failed to inform tens of thousands workers in its warehouses about how many of their coworkers were infected.
As part of the settlement Amazon will pay California a sum of $500,000The state will enforce consumer protection laws by using this information. The company will also modify its notification systems to inform workers about potential exposures to the virus, and will submit to monitoring from the attorney general’s office.
The settlement was approved by the California Superior Court in Sacramento and allows Amazon to deny any wrongdoing. In a statement from the company, Amazon said that the attorney general “found no substantive issues with the safety measures in our buildings,” and that the settlement simply resolves a “technicality” that they will now abide by.
However, a press release from Bonta’s office implied that the company had acted improperly, describing Amazon’s failure to follow the year-old law as “harmful” to its workers.
“Californians have a right to know about potential exposures to the coronavirus to protect themselves, their families, and their communities,” Bonta said in a statement.
Amazon has been frequently criticised for its poor treatment employees. After it was revealed that workers were being forced to urinate in delivery trucks to meet productivity requirements at the start of the pandemics, Amazon faced a lot of criticism.
Previously, The company had publicly and vehemently denied media reports that this ever took place, implying that workers were lying about the matter — but internal documents uncovered by The Intercept in March 2020 contradicted the company’s claims, and made clear that Amazon was aware of the situation.
The company is also accused in other parts of the nation of having poor workplace standards. Amazon is currently embroiled in a lawsuit against New York State Attorney General Letitia JamesShe attempted to block her office’s ability to bring charges against them for workplace safety concerns at two warehouses in New York City.