Amazon settles California lawsuit over its inadequate COVID-19 notifications

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Amazon reached an agreement with the California Attorney General’s Office in connection with the lawsuit alleging that its COVID-19 notifications were inadequate.

On Monday, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced the settlement agreement in which Amazon agreed to stop its “harmful labor practices that concealed COVID-19 case numbers” from local health agencies and its warehouse workers.

California’s allegations against Amazon

Attorney General Bonta filed a lawsuit against the e-commerce giant for allegedly failing to comply with the state’s labor code particularly section 6409.6, subdivision (a)(1), which requires employers to issue written notices to workers about potential exposure to COVID-19. It also requires employers to notify local health agencies regarding the number of COVID-19 cases, within 48 hours or one business day.  It also requires employers to inform workers about COVID-19 related benefits.

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The California Attorney General alleged that Amazon failed to issue its COVID-19 notifications within one business day. Its notifications were also incomplete as the e-commerce giant did not specify the total number of COVID-19 cases.

Additionally, the e-commerce giant allegedly failed to fully inform workers about the benefits available to them under local, state, and federal laws if they are exposed to COVID-19. Some of these benefits include g COVID-19-related leave, company sick leave, state-mandated leave, or supplemental sick leave; and anti-retaliation and anti-discrimination protections.

Furthermore, Attorney General Bonta asserted that Amazon failed to provide more details about its disinfection and safety plan and its implementation.

Details of the settlement agreement

The Attorney General’s office and Amazon agreed to the entry and enforcement of the final judgment to resolve the state’s complaint. The e-commerce giant did not admit any liability regarding the allegations of its violations.

Under the settlement agreement, Amazon agreed to update its COVID-19 notification policies and implement specific actions to help protect workers.

The e-commerce giant also agreed to pay $500,000 toward the enforcement of California consumer protection laws. It also agreed to submit itself to monitoring by the Attorney General’s Office regarding its COVID-19 notifications.

In a statement, Attorney General Bonta said, “Today’s first-of-its-kind judgment will help ensure Amazon meets that requirement for its tens of thousands of warehouse workers across California. Bottom line: Californians have a right to know about potential exposures to the coronavirus to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.”

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