New York says Amazon failed to protect workers from COVID-19

New York is suing Amazon, claiming the corporate failed to offer staff with a secure setting at two warehouses within the state as COVID-19 infections surged nationwide.

The swimsuit from New York Lawyer Common Letitia James landed simply days after Amazon preemptively sued to dam the swimsuit over its coronavirus security protocols and the firing of one in all its staff who objected to working circumstances.

Within the swimsuit filed late Tuesday, New York claims Amazon confirmed a “flagrant disregard for well being and security necessities” and retaliated illegally towards staff who raised alarms.

“We care deeply in regards to the well being and security of our staff, as demonstrated in our submitting final week, and we do not consider the Lawyer Common’s submitting presents an correct image of Amazon’s industry-leading response to the pandemic,” Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel mentioned in a press release. 

An Amazon warehouse assistant supervisor, Chris Smalls, who organized a walkout from the corporate’s Staten Island, New York, facility was fired again in March 2020, prompting an outcry from New York Metropolis’s mayor and the state’s legal professional common.

Smalls misplaced his job after serving to lead a protest over what some staff declare is the corporate’s lack of precautions towards the coronavirus.

Investigation adopted complaints

James opened an investigation into Amazon in March following complaints in regards to the lack of precautions taken to guard staff at New York amenities amid the pandemic. The investigation was later broadened to look at whether or not Amazon unlawfully fired or disciplined staff who reported these security considerations.

Amazon had additionally fired two staff who criticized the corporate’s warehouse operations and local weather insurance policies. Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa, each person expertise designers, mentioned on Twitter in April that the corporate had dismissed them.

The 2 have been a part of a gaggle of white-collar staff, referred to as Amazon Staff for Local weather Justice, that had pushed the corporate to implement extra environmentally pleasant insurance policies. 

Cunningham and Costa additionally had overtly criticized Amazon’s therapy of warehouse staff in current weeks, together with tweeting a petition calling for expanded sick go away, larger pay and a shutdown of amenities the place Amazon staff had examined constructive for the coronavirus. They and different staff additionally raised funds for warehouse staff who wanted to self-quarantine.

In a press release on the time, an Amazon spokesperson mentioned the ladies have been fired “for repeatedly violating inside insurance policies.”

“We help each worker’s proper to criticize their employer’s working circumstances, however that doesn’t include blanket immunity towards any and all inside insurance policies,” the assertion mentioned. 

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