The state of California has gone to court to force Amazon to cooperate with an investigation into how the company has treated its warehouse workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Monday announced he had filed in Sacramento County Superior Court, claiming Amazon has failed to respond adequately to his office's subpoena.
Becerra's office began investigating working conditions at Amazon's California warehouses in the spring. The company was contacted Aug. 19 to gather more information on coronavirus-related policies and practices but has failed to supply requested information.
"It has been nearly six months since the Attorney General’s initial request to Amazon," the filing states. "The slow drip of information from Amazon is an insufficient response."
CNBC reported Amazon warehouse workers have accused the company of failing to fully protect them from COVID-19. Amazon and CEO Jeff Bezos have countered saying they have gone to "great lengths" to ensure a safe work environment.
In October, Amazon disclosed nearly 20,000 employees contracted COVID-19 between March 1-Sept. 19. However, the company insisted the rate of infection among employees was 42% lower than expected, based on comparing numbers for the general U.S. population.
Becerra said he needs more information from Amazon to determine if the company is complying with state guidelines protecting workers. Among the data requested was more specifics on the company's sick-leave policy.
"It's critical to know if these workers are receiving the protections on the job that they are entitled to under the law," Becerra said in a statement. "Time is of the essence."
Amazon released a statement saying it was perplexed by Becerra's actions.
"We're puzzled by the Attorney General's sudden rush to court because we've been working cooperatively for months and their claims of noncompliance with their demands don't line up with the facts," said an Amazon representative, whose statement was reported by the Los Angeles Times.
Becerra has been selected by Joe Biden to head the Department of Health and Human Services.
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