(Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. was fined $5.9 million for failing to provide written work quotas to employees at two warehouses in Southern California, an escalation in regulatory penalties imposed on the online retailer in the wake of a new state law that took effect in 2022.

The California Department of Industrial Relations issued two citations in May, alleging Amazon violated the state’s warehouse quota law. It requires companies to give workers written notice of productivity quotas — the number of tasks per hour required to avoid being disciplined. The state agency said Amazon failed to do this for employees at facilities in Moreno Valley and Redlands between October and March.

“Undisclosed quotas expose workers to increased pressure to work faster and can lead to higher injury rates and other violations by forcing workers to skip breaks, ” State Labor Commissioner Lilia García-Brower said in a news release. 

Amazon spokesperson Maureen Lynch Vogel said the company has appealed the fines and disputes subjecting workers to quotas.

“At Amazon, individual performance is evaluated over a long period of time, in relation to how the entire site’s team is performing,” she said. “Employees can – and are encouraged to – review their performance whenever they wish.”

The Seattle-based company has been fending off federal and state regulators for a variety of allegations regarding working conditions in its warehouses. The US government doesn’t regulate workplace quotas used to encourage employees to move quickly. So California, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington and New York have enacted their own laws specifically targeting warehouse quotas, while several other states have considered them. US Senator Edward Markey has proposed a similar law at the federal level.

The California fines stand out for the size of the penalty. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has fined Amazon for safety violations the agency said expose workers to injury risks at multiple warehouses in different states, but they tend to be in the tens of thousands of dollars. The new California law poses a bigger financial risk for Amazon, which has multiple warehouses in the state.

(Updated with labor commissioner and Amazon comments beginning in third paragraph)

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