Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) will pay $500,000 and allow California officials to monitor it to make sure employees are kept up to date on new coronavirus cases. It will have to alert its employees about a recent case in a day. The company has about 150,000 employees in California. A majority of them work at warehouses where they package and ship orders. The agreement is yet to receive approval from a judge.
Amazon will alert employees and health agencies on new cases
As per the agreement, Amazon will have to update health agencies within 48 hours of discovering a new case. It will also cease giving notices that don’t fully explain their disinfection and safety plan to workers and their rights during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Rob Bonta, the attorney general, while the company experienced a surge in sales and doubled its stock price, it did little to alert its warehouse workers and health agencies on emerging cases. As a result, they were unable to track the disease’s spread efficiently.
Bonta adds that the company’s poor decisions prevented workers from making informed decisions on protecting themselves and their loved ones. They could not get tested or isolate themselves if they didn’t know that they had been exposed to the virus.
Former attorney general issued a subpoena to investigate Amazon
Barbara Agrait, a spokesperson for the company, says that the problem has been resolved. Additionally, the attorney general has not found any substantial issues in their safety measures.
The problem first came to light when Xavier Becerra, the former attorney general and current leader for the U.S Health and Human Services Department, issued subpoenas while investigating Amazon’s employee protection policies at its warehouses.
The investigation was revealed in July 2020 during a case where a worker claimed the company did little to protect its employees from the virus.
At this time, it is unclear how many Amazon employees have been infected with COVID-19 during the pandemic. Almost 20,000 of its workers in the U.S were presumed infected or were confirmed positive by October 2020.
However, the judgment only applies to California. It complies with a right-to-know law that legislators enforced in 2020. It requires businesses to update workers and local health agencies on new cases and give them clear instructions on safety, disinfection, and protection.