Amazon settles California claims it hid COVID-19 cases from employees – Community News
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Amazon settles California claims it hid COVID-19 cases from employees

Packaged products ready to ship on display at an Amazon Fulfillment Center in Tracy, Calif., Aug. 3, 2015. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

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Nov. 15 (Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) has reached a settlement with California to resolve claims it concealed from warehouse workers and local health authorities about the number of workers infected with COVID-19, the attorney said General of the State on Monday.

California accused Amazon of violating a state law of September 2020, Assembly Bill 685, which requires it to keep employees informed about the spread of COVID-19 and provide information about safety plans and coronavirus-related benefits.

Attorney General Rob Bonta said that by leaving tens of thousands of warehouse workers and agencies in the dark, the online retail giant was not allowing them to effectively monitor the spread of the virus.

Under the settlement, Amazon agreed to warn California warehouse workers within one day about the exact number of new COVID-19 cases in their workplace.

The Seattle-based company will also pay $500,000 to help enforce state consumer protection laws.

Amazon has admitted no wrongdoing or liability in agreeing to the settlement, which was filed in the California Superior Court in Sacramento and requires court approval.

“We are pleased that this has been resolved and that the AG has found no substantive issues with the security measures in our premises,” Amazon spokesperson Barbara Agrait said in an email.

At least 14 U.S. states have adopted comprehensive COVID-19 protections for workers, the nonprofit National Employment Law Project said in June.

Amazon has been criticized elsewhere for its handling of COVID-19 in the workplace.

The company is appealing a New York state judge’s refusal last month to dismiss a lawsuit by state Attorney General Letitia James over employee safety at two fulfillment centers in New York City.

Reporting by Jonathan Stamp in New York; Editing by Aurora Ellis