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New California law expands protections for warehouse workers

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Sacramento, CA — California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Sept. 22 signed into law a bill intended to further protect the health and safety of warehouse workers.

Under A.B. 701, employers with 100 or more employees at a single warehouse distribution center or 1,000 or more employees at one or more warehouse distribution centers must disclose production quotas to their workers. In addition, the law bans the use of algorithms that “disrupt basic worker rights such as rest periods, bathroom breaks, or compliance with health and safety laws,” according to a press release from Newsom’s office.

Sponsored by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), the legislation ensures workers can’t be fired or retaliated against for failing to meet an unsafe quota and allows workers to seek injunctions. It also permits the state’s Labor Commission to issue citations and gain access to workers’ compensation data so the commission can identify establishments with high injury rates that are “likely due to the use of unsafe quotas.”

 

Newsom continues in the release: “We cannot allow corporations to put profit over people. The hardworking warehouse employees who have helped sustain us during these unprecedented times should not have to risk injury or face punishment as a result of exploitative quotas that violate basic health and safety. I’m proud to sign this legislation giving them the dignity, respect and safety they deserve.”

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