Inland Empire Amazon Workers Prompt Investigation, Leading to nearly $6 million in Citations at two Amazon Warehouses

ONTARIO, Calif. - Amazon.com Services LLC was cited twice for $5.9 million for violating California’s Warehouse Worker Protection Act, or AB 701, at two large facilities in Southern California’s Inland Empire. 

The California Labor Commissioner’s Office issued the citations after finding that at the two facilities, Amazon did not provide employees with a written description of any work quotas they are expected to meet. AB 701, sponsored by former Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2021 and went into effect in 2022. 

“Amazon management really makes people stress about rate,” said Carrie Stone, who works at Amazon’s ONT8 facility in Moreno Valley. “If you don’t scan enough items you will get written up. This happened to me. I got written up for not making rate. They said I missed by one point, but I didn’t even know what the target was.”

The citations cover thousands of workers at two Amazon warehouses in the Inland Empire, ONT9 in Redlands and ONT8 in Moreno Valley. The citations include penalties of over $1.2 million at ONT9 and nearly $4.7 million at ONT8. 

“Amazon’s push for speed leads to high rates of injuries,” said Mindy Acevedo, staff attorney with the Warehouse Worker Resource Center. “AB 701 provides important protections against dangerous work speeds and unfair quota practices, but these citations show Amazon failed to follow fundamental parts of the law. Courageous workers sounded the alarm about these violations and the Labor Commissioner took prompt action. We heard from workers that not only were they required to work at an unsafe pace, there was little transparency around work expectations and they could lose their jobs if they failed to meet these undisclosed quotas. Amazon workers are entitled to what AB 701 promises – fairness and transparency around quota expectations and a safe pace of work.” 

The Amazon citations are among the first citations in California for AB 701 violations issued by the Labor Commissioner’s Office. Since September 2023, the LCO has issued citations totaling $7.8 million to five entities, including Amazon, for failing to provide written quota descriptions to their workers.

Following AB 701’s passage in California, similar legislation has since been enacted in Minnesota, New York, Oregon and Washington. In May, Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass) introduced a federal version of the Warehouse Worker Protection Act in Congress. 

Workplace Safety Crisis at Amazon

Warehouse workers at Amazon experience injuries at alarming rates. Amazon’s own injury data reported to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) show an injury rate 75% higher than the average rate across non-Amazon warehouses and a serious injury rate more than twice as high as the rate for non-Amazon warehouses, according to an analysis of 2023 data by the Strategic Organizing Center. A recent study from the University of Illinois-Chicago suggests that actual injury rates may in fact be far higher, finding that nearly half of Amazon workers report being injured on the job.

According to a May 2024 report from the National Employment Law Project, “Injuries at Amazon warehouses are much more likely to be serious enough to require time off work or job transfer than at other comparable warehouse employers (with at least 10 facilities that employ 1,000 or more workers).”

Amazon Faces Multiple Citations Related to Worker Safety 

Nine separate federal and state level OSHA investigations in the last three years have found that the high level of injury risk in Amazon’s operations violated the law. In 2023, federal OSHA opened new investigations of ergonomic hazards and later issued violations at three additional warehouses in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. OSHA also issued new violations for Amazon’s failure to keep accurate injury records at five warehouses in New Jersey, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania and Missouri. 

Washington State OSHA (WISHA), has conducted five previous investigations of Amazon warehouses showing 16 violations, and in August 2023 the state agency issued four additional “willful” violations for ergonomic hazards.

The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating whether Amazon underreported injury data to its own workers, and made false representations about this data to lenders.

What are the details of the Warehouse Worker Protection Act (AB 701)? 

Under AB 701 (enacted as California Labor Code 2100 et seq), a quota is simply the number of tasks you are required to complete in a certain time period. The law covers those who work in a warehouse with 100 or more employees or is operated by a company with 1,000 or more total warehouse employees in California.

AB 701 promotes fairness and transparency in the workplace – requiring employers to provide employees a written description of every quota they are expected to meet. It also gives workers the right to request their personal work speed data if they feel their rights under AB 701 have been violated, and the law prohibits employers from taking any adverse action against an employee for failing to meet a quota for which the employee was not provided a written description. 

Additionally, AB 701 prohibits employers from enforcing quotas that interfere with workplace safety regulations or employees’ ability to use the restroom or take their full meal and rest breaks.

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Media Contact: media@warehouseworkers.org

About the WWRC

The Warehouse Worker Resource Center is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3), organization founded in 2011 dedicated to improving working conditions in the warehouse industry in Southern California. We focus on education, advocacy and action to change poor working conditions in the largest warehousing hub in the country.