California passes law targeting Amazon labor algorithms

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California passes law targeting Amazon labor algorithms

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed a bill Wednesday that would block Amazon and other companies from punishing warehouse workers who fail to meet certain performance metrics for taking rest or meal breaks. The California Senate approved the measure earlier this month.

The law allows warehouse workers to challenge performance goals that many say discourage them from taking bathroom breaks or other rest breaks throughout the work day. The bill was written in response to high rates of reported injuries at Amazon warehouses where performance quotas are algorithmically enforced.

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The law does not explicitly name Amazon in its text, but both Republican and Democratic lawmakers recognize that the e-commerce giant would be greatly affected by the enactment of the legislation. Over the last few years, Amazon has come under intense criticism for its performance quotas with several outlets reporting that workers have peed in bottles as a means of meeting their warehouse fulfillment goals and maintaining their jobs.

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