Amazon was fined nearly $6 million over claims it violated a worker productivity law in California

    A worker transports plastic crates filled with orders to be shipped to customers at the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Moreno Valley, California, on September 29, 2021.

    Genaro Molina/Getty Images

    California fined Amazon $5.9 million, saying it failed to inform employees about work quotas.A state law requires written quota details to prevent pressure and injuries among workers.An Amazon spokesperson said it has disputed the allegations and appealed the fine.

    California’s Department of Industrial Relations announced Tuesday it had fined Amazon more than $5.9 million, saying the e-commerce giant had violated labor laws that require companies to inform warehouse employees of any quotas they must follow.

    According to the state’s Warehouse Quotas law, which went into effect in January 2022, those quotas must be provided to workers in written form. They could include things like the number of tasks employees are expected to perform in an hour and any potential consequences they could face if they do not meet expectations.

    The fines center on Amazon’s fulfillment centers in Moreno Valley and Redlands, where the state Labor Commissioner’s Office found 59,017 violations between October 20, 2023, and March 9, 2024, it said in a press release.

    “The peer-to-peer system that Amazon was using in these two warehouses is exactly the kind of system that the Warehouse Quotas law was put in place to prevent,” California Labor Commissioner Lilia García-Brower said in the release. “Undisclosed quotas expose workers to increased pressure to work faster and can lead to higher injury rates and other violations by forcing workers to skip breaks.”

    Amazon spokesperson Maureen Lynch Vogel told Business Insider the company disagrees with the allegations and has appealed the fine. She added that Amazon does not have fixed quotas.

    “Individual performance is evaluated over a long period of time, in relation to how the entire site’s team is performing. Employees can — and are encouraged to — review their performance whenever they wish,” she said. “They can always talk to a manager if they’re having trouble finding the information.”

    Lynch Vogel also provided a link to an Amazon blog post that describes how it manages the performance of fulfillment center employees, including its communication of work expectations and its use of robots to improve worker safety.

    Amazon operates a vast network of fulfillment centers where workers pick and pack orders before they are sent out to customers. Some are as large as 1 million square feet and employ more than 1,000 workers. The company has attracted the attention of regulators over allegations of low pay and stressful working conditions, and in 2022, workers at the company’s fulfillment center in Staten Island, New York, voted to unionize.

    Read the original article on Business Insider


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