San Francisco: Tech giant Amazon was ordered to pay a $ 500,000 fine to employees for hiding the number of COVID-19 cases in their California workplaces. First reported by the Los Angeles Times, the company agreed to pay fines and improve the way cases are tracked and notified to workers and local health agencies. As The Verge reports, Amazon should notify its warehouse employees in California of the “exact number of new COVID-19 cases in their workplaces” when cases arise.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta said the fines came after a complaint filed against Amazon that alleges the company failed to adequately inform warehouse workers and local health agencies about the new COVID-19 cases. The LA Times reported that this is the first sanction related to California’s COVID ‘right to know’ law (AB 685), passed last year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the law, employers must alert workers who were potentially exposed to COVID-19 within one day and within 48 hours if they meet the definition of a ‘COVID-19 outbreak’. Local health agencies must also report the number of COVID-19 cases. “As our country grapples with the pandemic, it is absolutely vital that businesses now play their part to protect workers, especially during this holiday season,” Bonta said.
“The people of California have the right to know about possible exposure to the coronavirus to protect themselves, their families and their communities.” Amazon was criticized for its handling of workers during the pandemic. Last March, Michigan warehouse workers were outraged when Amazon failed to inform them that their coworker had COVID-19.