Amazon to Pay $500,000 in Settlement for not Sharing Covid Data with Warehouse Workers

Amazon has reached a legal settlement in California over claims it failed to adequately inform its warehouse workers about Covid-19 cases in the workplace.

The delivery giant will pay $500,000 (£370,000) but did not admit wrongdoing in agreeing on the settlement.

Amazon said the law did not require it to share total numbers of cases with staff, but it had now started to do so.

It is the first application of the state’s “right to know” rules that require employers to keep staff notified.

The legislation requires firms to inform workers promptly of potential Covid exposures at their worksites, to tell them about pandemic-related protections, benefits, disinfection, and safety plans, and to report cases to local health agencies.

Amazon spokeswoman Barbara Grait said the company had not broken the law and had always notified workers of any exposure to cases of the virus and done contract tracing.

It comes as Amazon is gearing up for the holiday season. US retail spending, including online, is already running higher than this time last year, despite supply chain problems and rising inflation.

However, rates of the virus are also expected to rise, as socialising moves indoors in the colder weather, and as families gather indoors for Thanksgiving.

Amazon has faced criticism through the course of the pandemic for its approach to protecting its workers.

The agreement applies only to California, where Amazon employs around 150,000 workers, and must still be approved by a judge.

However, the firm has been criticised over its policies elsewhere and is also facing legal action in New York over safety at two of its fulfillment centres there.

Amazon said there was no change required to the way it notified its workers if they had been in close contact with a Covid case. The firm said the issue was around the structure of bulk employee Covid-related notifications.

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