Amazon fined $5.9 million for warehouse law violations

Amazon was fined roughly $5.9 million over alleged quota violations at two of its warehouses in California, the state’s Labor Commissioner’s Office announced Tuesday.

The office said in a press release Tuesday that Amazon violated the state’s warehouse quotas law at two distribution warehouses in Moreno Valley and the Redlands. The law, which went into effect in 2022, “requires warehouse employers to provide employees written notice of any quotas they must follow,” the office said.

This includes informing workers of the number of tasks they need to complete per hour and any “discipline” that could come from not meeting the quota. The office said Amazon “failed to provide written notice of quotas.”

The law placed limits on quotas “that prevent compliance with meal or rest periods, use of bathroom facilities, or compliance with occupational health and safety laws,” according to the press release.

The office said Amazon argued it did not need quotas because it uses a peer-to-peer evaluation system.

“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. 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,” California Labor Commissioner Lilia García-Brower said in a statement.

Amazon spokesperson Maureen Lynch Vogel said the company disagreed with the alleged violations and will appeal the citations.

“We disagree with the allegations made in the citations and have appealed. The truth is, we don’t have fixed quotas. At Amazon, individual performance is evaluated over a long period of time, in relation to how the entire site’s team is performing,” she said in a statement to The Hill.

“Employees can — and are encouraged to — review their performance whenever they wish. They can always talk to a manager if they’re having trouble finding the information,” she added.

The office said it found 59,017 violations for the Moreno Valley and Redlands warehouses between Oct. 20, 2023, and March 9. It issued penalties of $100 for each violation under existing labor law, according to the press release.

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