California Court Issues $5.9 Million Fine on Amazon for Breaking Labor Law

By Jose Resurreccion

Jun 19, 2024 12:09 AM EDT

California Court Issues $5.9 Million Fine on Amazon for Breaking Labor Law
A worker makes repairs to a wall at a new Amazon fulfillment center on August 10, 2017 in Sacramento, California.
(Photo : Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The California Labor Commissioner's Office fined Amazon $5.9 million for violating a state law that prevented warehouse workers from being pushed to work so quickly that their health and safety were put at risk. 

The Washington Post, a news agency owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, reported that the fine was the largest the state's labor authorities issued under the Warehouse Quota Law, which took effect in 2022. 

Californian officials investigated two of the company's facilities near Los Angeles in May and, according to the labor office's statement dated Tuesday (June 18), found that the company failed to "provide written notice of quotas" that were subject to each employee. 

The fine was an accumulated value based on the violations found in each of the two Amazon warehouses inspected: $1.2 million for Redland and $4.7 million for Moreno Valley. 

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Amazon's Labor Issues

California Labor Commissioner Lilia Garcia-Brower said in a statement that the "undisclosed" quota system Amazon used in the two warehouses was "exactly the kind of system" the recent labor laws were intended to prevent.

Warehouse Worker Resource Center labor activist Deogracia Cornelio added in a news conference that Amazon not informing its workers of the quotas they were supposed to meet was "highly dehumanizing," "stressful," and could lead people to accidents. 

Aside from the California intervention, Amazon was also dealing with a labor inquiry in New York and an investigation by federal labor regulators and a congressional committee.

However, Amazon spokesperson Maureen Lynch Vogel protested against the citations made by Californian labor authorities, saying in an email that the company is set to appeal the fine. 

It is understood that the fines were minuscule compared with Amazon's size and $574 billion in revenue. 

READ MORE: Amazon Sued by Thousands of Delivery Drivers Over Unpaid Wages, Contractor Status

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