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Amazon, California Reach Agreement on Covid-19 Disclosure

Amazon reached a stipulated agreement with the State of California to begin notifying its employees and local health agencies of new Covid-19 cases in the workplace.

Amazon AMZN and the State of California have reached an agreement requiring the giant tech company to begin notifying its employees and local health agencies of new Covid-19 cases in the workplace.

It will also allow the state attorney general to monitor its notification process.

Amazon agreed to pay $500,000 toward enforcement of California's consumer protection laws, according to a stipulation signed by the parties on Friday. The stipulation judgment still requires court approval to go into effect.

"As our nation continues to battle the pandemic, it is absolutely critical that businesses do their part to protect workers now — and especially during this holiday season,” California Attorney General Bonta said in a Monday statement.“

That’s why California law requires employers to notify workers of potential workplace exposures and to report outbreaks to local health agencies. Today’s first-of-its-kind judgment will help ensure Amazon meets that requirement for its tens of thousands of warehouse workers across California."

Shares of Amazon on Monday rose slightly after hours to $3,548.80. The stock closed 0.6% higher in the regular session.

Bonta said that the first-of-its-kind stipulated judgment is in line with California's "right-to-know" law, AB 685, that requires employers to notify workers of Covid-19 cases at their worksites.

It must also provide employees with information on Covid-19-related benefits and protections, share their disinfection and safety plan, and report Covid-19 cases to local health agencies. 

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The state on Monday concurrently filed its complaint and the stipulation in the Sacramento County Superior Court seeking to resolve Amazon's alleged failure to adequately notify warehouse workers and local health agencies of Covid-19 case numbers.

That was often leaving them in the dark and unable to effectively track the spread of the virus, Bonta's statement said.

Former California Attorney General Xavier Becerra in December 2020 filed a lawsuit against Amazon, seeking to force the company to comply with its investigation into its Covid-19 protocols.

Becerra became Secretary of Health and Human Services in March.

Under the stipulation judgement awaiting court approval, Amazon must issue notifications to its warehouse workers that identify, within one day, the exact number of Covid-19 cases in their workplaces. 

It must also cease notifications that inadequately inform employees of its disinfection and safety plan and employees' Covid-19 rights.

The company must notify local health agencies of new Covid-19 cases within 48 hours so they can address potential workplace outbreaks and allow the state attorney general to monitor notifications.