California legislatures sent a message to the Amazon corporation about acceptable working conditions. On Sept. 22, the governor signed a law that addresses mandatory performance quotas at Amazon warehouses. The online retail giant relies on warehouse workers to load cargo onto delivery trucks, so the company wants to see high levels of efficiency. However, workers have long complained about unfair quotas and difficult working conditions.
Putting worker concerns ahead of Amazon’s
The law does not outright ban Amazon’s ability to require quotas from workers. However, the law does ban the company from sanctioning workers for failing to meet quotas due to lunch or restroom breaks. Governor Gavin Newsom noted his disapproval of “exploitative quotas” that undermine health and safety.
Sometimes, employees who rush to fill quotas might make mistakes that could harm themselves or others. By taking the threat of punishments away, workers might continue at a normal, safe pace.
Filing for workers’ compensation remains an option for employees in California. Regardless, avoiding injuries in the first place is preferable as benefits payments don’t take away the pain and suffering an injury may cause.
This is important because Amazon warehouses might be more dangerous than other similar environments. A review of data from 2020 suggests that Amazon’s workers faced injuries at an 80% greater degree than those working elsewhere in the warehousing industry.
Laws may change how companies treat workers
Employment law covers a wide range of different issues, with workplace safety and correct employee status being two prominent ones. Independent contractors are not eligible for workers’ compensation, and they can only file a personal injury suit if negligence causes an injury. California has taken steps to address employee misclassification although some entities might seek to skirt the law.
The new warehouse quota law takes effect in early 2022. The legislation might reflect the start of additional scrutiny at Amazon facilities.