California 1st to Set Quota Limits for Retailers like Amazon
Techlife News|September 25, 2021
California became the first state to bar megaretailers from firing warehouse workers for missing quotas that interfere with bathroom and rest breaks under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom that grew from Amazon’s drive to speed goods to consumers more quickly.

The measure also bars Amazon, the online retail giant, and similar companies from disciplining workers for following health and safety laws and allows employees to sue to suspend unsafe quotas or reverse retaliation. The bill applies to all warehouse distribution centers, though proponents were driven by Amazon’s dominance.

“We cannot allow corporations to put profit over people,” Newsom, a Democrat, said in a news release announcing he had signed the law.

The law, AB 701, was authored by Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, a lawyer and former labor leader. She accused Amazon of disciplining warehouse workers at the direction of “an algorithm” that tracks employees’ activities and can determine that anything not directly related to moving packages is “off-task.”

“Amazon is pushing workers to risk their bodies for next-day delivery, while they can’t so much as use the restroom without fearing retaliation,” Gonzalez said when the Legislature passed her bill.

Amazon did not respond for requests for comment on her legislation or allegations. The law gives large warehouse employers 30 days to disclose quotas to employees.

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