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California AG is taking Amazon to court over COVID-19 employee safety

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  • California is taking Amazon to court over a months-long investigation into whether the company adequately protects employees from COVID-19. 
  • California’s attorney general asked a Sacramento judge to force Amazon to comply with investigative subpoenas, which were initially issued in August. 
  • An Amazon spokesperson told Business Insider that they’ve been cooperative with the investigation. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

California’s attorney general asked a Sacramento judge to force Amazon to comply with investigative subpoenas as part of a months-long investigation into the company’s effort to protect workers from COVID-19.

In a statement, Attorney General Xavier Becerra said that Amazon has failed “to adequately comply with lawful requests for information as part of an ongoing investigation into the company’s coronavirus protocols and the status of COVID-19 cases at Amazon facilities across the state.”

“Amazon has made billions during this pandemic relying on the labor of essential workers. Their workers get the job done while putting themselves at risk,” Becerra continued.  “It’s critical to know if these workers are receiving the protections on the job that they are entitled to under the law. Time is of the essence. Amazon has delayed responding adequately to our investigative requests long enough.”

The attorney general first issued the subpoenas in August, the Los Angeles Times reported. 

An Amazon spokesperson told Business Insider: “We’re puzzled by the Attorney General’s sudden rush to court because we’ve been working cooperatively for months and their claims of noncompliance with their demands don’t line up with the facts.”

“The bottom line is that we’re a leader in providing COVID-19 safety measures for our employees — we’ve invested billions of dollars in equipment and technology, including building on-site testing for employees and providing personal protective equipment. We encourage anyone to compare our speed and actions in this area to any other major employer,” they added. 

In October, the company reported more than 19,000 COVID-19 cases among their frontline workers since the pandemic started in March. 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Amazon workers have gone on strike to protests working conditions. Some have also filed complaints with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. 

In October, California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health also levied $1,870 in fines on Amazon for coronavirus-related safety violations, the Los Angeles Times reported. The division found that two warehouses failed to mitigate workers’ potential exposure to COVID-19 by not providing adequate safety training to the employees. 

 

 

 

 

 

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