Amazon to Pay California $500k over Concealed COVID-19 Cases Claim

( – On September 17, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) signed Assembly Bill 685 into law. It went into effect on January 1, 2021. As part of that law, employers must provide “written notice to all employees and employers of subcontracted employees” regarding any possible COVID-19 exposures at a worksite. Attorney General (AG) Rob Bonta took online mega-retailer Amazon to court alleging it failed to abide by the directive. It has now entered into an agreement to avoid any further litigation.

In a proposed “stipulated final judgment” jointly filed in the Superior Court in Sacramento County — which a judge must still approve — Amazon has essentially said it just doesn’t want to be bothered. According to the wording of the document, “defendant expressly denies the allegations” set forth in the complaint filed by AG Bonta. Despite the denial, the company settled and agreed to a $500,000 payment as compensation.

While this puts the matter to rest in California, Amazon is still battling a lawsuit filed by New York AG Letitia James (D) that accuses the company of failing to protect — and retaliating against — employees at two fulfillment centers in regard to the pandemic. In a somewhat confusing series of events, the online giant had filed a lawsuit to preemptively stop Ms. James from suing in state court, but a federal judge ruled that it did, in fact, belong there.

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