Amazon was fined $500,000 for failing to notify the California workers about the Covid cases. Amazon on Monday was said to reach a settlement with the California’s attorney general over claims that it concealed Covid-19 case numbers from its warehouse workers.
The company was said to have agreed to inform the warehouse workers within one day of new Covid- 19 cases, and to also provide the exact number of cases in their workplace, the California State Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a statement.
Amazon Fined $500,000
CNBC also reported that under the agreement, which is still subject to court approval, Amazon will also alert the local health agencies within the period of 48 hours of new Covid-19 cases and pay $500,000 towards the additional implementation of California consumer protection laws, said Bonta.
An Amazon spokesman Barbara Agrait also said there is no change to, nor charges of any problems with, the company’s protocols that is related to notifying employees who could have been exposed to the Covid.
“We’re glad to have this resolved and to see that the AG found no substantive issues with the safety measures in our buildings,” Agrait said in a statement.
The settlement was said to come after California in January enacted stricter Covid workplace regulations as part of Assembly Bill 685, or the “right-to-know” law. The regulation requires businesses to report any Covid cases to their workers within a period of one business day, among the other stipulations.
Amazon Said to Inadequately Notify Warehouse Workers
Throughout the period of the pandemic, Bonta was said to inadequately Amazon notify the warehouse workers and local health agencies about the Covid case numbers, “often leaving them in the dark and were unable to efficiently track the spread of the Covid virus.”
Amazon sends any notification of new Covid cases to the warehouse workers through its internal messaging portal, that is called A to Z, and works to determine if the other employees came into contact with the person that tested positive by reviewing on-site the camera footage, and also interviewing the workers.
Warehouse and Delivery Workers Criticized Amazon
The warehouse and the delivery workers had formerly criticized Amazon’s contact tracing and case notification protocols, claiming they’re inadequate.
Last year, the then-California Attorney General Xavier Becerra opened a probe into Amazon’s treatment of its warehouse workers during the pandemic.
California’s division of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration also fined Amazon last October for coronavirus safety violations at two warehouses in the state.
At one site, Amazon didn’t notify contracted delivery drivers of confirmed cases, the citation said. Amazon said at the time that it believed its coronavirus safety measures were “more than adequate.”.