Sacramento, CA… California Attorney General Xavier Becerra yesterday announced filing a petition in the Sacramento County Superior Court requesting that the court order Amazon.com, Inc. (Amazon) to comply with outstanding investigative subpoenas. The state’s petition alleges that Amazon has failed to adequately comply with lawful requests for information as part of an ongoing investigation into the company’s coronavirus protocols and the status of COVID-19 cases at Amazon facilities across the state.
“Amazon has made billions during this pandemic relying on the labor of essential workers. Their workers get the job done while putting themselves at risk,” said Attorney General Becerra. “It’s critical to know if these workers are receiving the protections on the job that they are entitled to under the law. Time is of the essence. Amazon has delayed responding adequately to our investigative requests long enough. We’re seeking a court order to compel Amazon to comply fully with our investigative subpoenas.”
Following months of informal communication with Amazon seeking information about workplace health and safety measures, the California Department of Justice issued investigative subpoenas on August 19, 2020. The subpoenas seek specific details about the nature and extent of Amazon’s coronavirus prevention efforts, including with regard to sick leave policies and cleaning procedures, as well as raw data on the number of infections and deaths at their facilities in the state. To date, Amazon has failed to adequately respond, missing several additional opportunities to comply with the Attorney General’s information request. Despite the fact that Amazon has reportedly seen record sales and profits during the pandemic, the company has been unwilling to provide to the California Department of Justice the information needed to adequately demonstrate that it takes the health and well-being of its workers seriously. The Attorney General’s investigation is ongoing and no determinations have been made regarding the company’s coronavirus protocols, particularly given Amazon’s limited responsiveness.
Attorney General Becerra is committed to protecting hardworking Americans and their families in California and across the country. Last week, the Attorney General pushed back on a Trump Administration effort to effectively rip wages away from essential farmworkers. Last month, he urged the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board to adopt an emergency temporary standard aimed at protecting workers across California from exposure to COVID-19, which the Board approved unanimously that same week. In August, the California Department of Justice assisted Merced County in its efforts to contain a coronavirus outbreak at a Foster Farms facility in Livingston, California. In June, the Attorney General urged Walmart to step up efforts to protect workers and the public during COVID-19. In May, he slammed the President’s reckless executive order forcing meat and poultry processing plant employees to work without adequate protections during the current public health crisis. In March, Attorney General Becerra called on Amazon and Whole Foods to step up efforts to protect workers by providing adequate paid sick leave. More information on the California Department of Justice’s efforts to protect the public during COVID-19 is available on the Attorney General’s website at https://oag.ca.gov/consumers/COVID-19.
A copy of the petition, as submitted to the court, is available here.