By MADISON HIRNEISEN
THE CENTER SQUARE REPORTER
(The Center Square) — Amazon will pay $500,000 as part of a settlement agreement after California Attorney General Rob Bonta said the tech giant concealed COVID-19 case numbers from workers.
The attorney general’s office said that Amazon “failed to notify warehouse workers and local health agencies of COVID-19 case numbers, often leaving them in the dark and unable to effectively track the spread of the virus.”
Mr. Bonta submitted a complaint against the tech giant earlier in November, saying Amazon’s notification system for workers was not sufficient.
Mr. Bonta announced a first-of-its kind stipulated judgement against the company on Monday, which requires Amazon to issue notifications to workers about the number of new COVID-19 cases in the workplace within one day, submit to monitoring from the attorney general’s office regarding these notifications and pay $500,000 toward enforcement of the state’s consumer protection laws.
“As our nation continues to battle the pandemic, it is absolutely critical that businesses do their part to protect workers now — and especially during this holiday season,” Mr. Bonta said in a statement. “That’s why California law requires employers to notify workers of potential workplace exposures and to report outbreaks to local health agencies. Today’s first-of-its-kind judgment will help ensure Amazon meets that requirement for its tens of thousands of warehouse workers across California.”
The judgement will require Amazon to fall in line with California’s “right-to-know law,” known as Assembly Bill 685. The law requires employers to notify employees about potential exposure to COVID-19 at their worksite, provide information about COVID-19-related benefits and plans and notify local public health authorities about outbreaks.
In a statement, Amazon spokesperson Barbara Agrait said that Amazon is “glad to have this resolved and to see that the AG found no substantive issues with the safety measures in our buildings.”
The settlement is still subject to court approval.
Madison Hirneisen covers California for The Center Square.