I think this is good news for warehouse workers in California. Having to go to bathroom while being under some gun that effects negatively by potential disciplinary actions how the employer sees how productive you are is not great for the employee and there human health long term. I know this will lead to more and more robotics replacing's people in this and many other industries as robots don't complain and can work 24/7... But there has to be a baseline standard of human health when employing a person to do a job and not treat them as disposable machinery..
California on Wednesday became the first state to bar mega-retailers 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.
Workers who think their quotas lead to unsafe behavior can ask for 90 days' worth of documentation of how their work speed meets or fails the quota. Any discipline within that 90 days is presumed to be retaliation, as is any discipline within 90 days of an employee complaining to the company or a state agency about an unsafe quota.
Yesenia Barrera, a former warehouse employee who is now an organizer with the Warehouse Worker Resource Center, recalled the constant pressure to perform and “carrying, bending, reaching, twisting and packing items from 30-60 pounds for hours a day.”
But 27 business organizations led by the California Retailers Association objected that California is home to thousands of warehouse distribution centers that together “provide quality jobs to hundreds of thousands of working-class Californians.”