California Attorney General Rob Bonta has announced a new agreement with Amazon in which his office will monitor notifications sent to the e-commerce giant's employees regarding COVID-19 cases at its warehouses in the state.
The agreement, which puts Amazon in compliance with the recently enacted California Assembly Bill 685, follows a lawsuit that claimed the company violated state labor laws by failing to adequately notify warehouse workers and local health agencies about COVID-19 cases, including the names, numbers, occupations and worksites of infected employees. The suit adds that Amazon failed to disclose their disinfection and safety plans and their employees' COVID-19-related benefits.
Under the stipulated judgement, which is subject to approval by Sacramento County Superior Court, Amazon will be required to notify tens of thousands of its workers within one business day about the exact number of new COVID-19 cases in its workplaces, its COVID-19-related protections as well as the company's disinfection and safety plans.
They will also be required to notify local health agencies about COVID-19 cases within 48 hours so that they can intervene in potential workplace outbreaks and pay a $500,000 settlement towards enforcement of California’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," Bonta said in a statement. "Californians have a right to know about potential exposures to the coronavirus to protect themselves, their families, and their communities."
An Amazon spokesperson told FOX Business the company is "glad to have this resolved and to see that the AG found no substantive issues with the safety measures in our buildings."
"We’ve worked hard from the beginning of the pandemic to keep our employees safe and deliver for our customers— incurring more than $15 billion in costs to date—and we’ll keep doing that in months and years ahead," the spokesperson added in a statement.
In addition, Amazon says it remains focused on communicating transparently with local health authorities whenever there is a new case and that it uses contact tracing to help quickly notify employees who become exposed to an infected coworker.
Amazon has hosted more than 1,800 free on-site vaccination events at its facilities across the U.S., making COVID-19 vaccines available to more than 1 million Amazon employees and their families. It also offers U.S. hourly, non-exempt employees a $40 per-dose benefit, regardless of where they receive their vaccination, and a $100 new-hire bonus for fully vaccinated U.S. front-line employees.
The company has a global workforce of more than 1.4 million full-time and part-time employees, excluding contractors and temporary personnel, according to its latest earnings report.