Online retail giant Amazon will pay a $500,000 fine for not reporting COVID-19 infections. The state of California accused the company of violations of labor laws. It said Amazon failed to properly inform workers about COVID-19 infections.
California To Fine Amazon For Not Reporting COVID Cases In the Workplace
On Monday, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced an agreement with Amazon. His office received complaints alleging that Amazon made insufficient reporting about COVID cases.
As a result, Amazon faces a $500,000 fine for its negligent behavior. Meanwhile, Bonta's office will secure court approval for the agreement.
The California AG’s initial complaint said that they received “multiple instances” of violations. Specifically, Amazon failed to notify workers about potential exposure to the virus a number of times.
California labor laws require companies to inform employees if any co-workers test positive. They also require companies to inform workers about COVID-related benefits from the state, local, and federal laws. Also, Amazon failed to comply by not reporting COVID instances among workers in the required time.
Amazon Did Not Fully Comply With California Laws
Amazon sent incomplete written notifications about COVID-19 infections to its employees and subcontractors. Its reports did not specify the total number of COVID-19 cases. Unfortunately, California labor laws require specifying the number of cases
Over the years, California's labor laws underwent amendments. This gave workers additional protections in the workplace. The new laws included the “right-to-know” law signed last year.
In particular, it requires companies to report COVID cases as soon as they happen in the workplace. It also needs to inform employees about reported infections within one business day.
During the pandemic, Bonta’s office said Amazon violated the law. It was not reporting COVID cases within the specified time.
As a result, Amazon failed to notify both its workers and health officials. It also left them in the dark about ongoing cases. As such, they were unable to track the spread of the virus.
Harmful Labor Practices
The agreement will make Amazon end its “harmful labor practices” and comply with California’s labor laws. Amazon will need to inform workers of any coronavirus infections in the workplace within one day.
It will also share greater information about disinfection efforts and virus-related benefits available to workers.
Finally, Amazon will need to alert public health authorities “within 48 hours” of any newly reported infections. Moving forward, Bonta’s office will review Amazon’s compliance.
In a press release, Bonta assured the state’s workers that Amazon will cease its practice of not reporting COVID cases in its workplace.
“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,” he said.
Watch the CBS Sacramento video reporting that Amazon faces a $500K proposed fine for how it notifies employees about COVID cases:
Do you agree with the fine for Amazon’s alleged practice of not reporting COVID cases to workers within one business day? Are other companies better at managing COVID cases in their workplaces?
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