New York Sues Amazon, Saying It Inadequately Protected Workers From Covid-19
New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, sued Amazon on Tuesday evening, arguing that the company provided inadequate security protections for workers in New York City during the epidemic and retaliated against employees who had concerns over the conditions Expressed.
The case focuses on two Amazon facilities: a large warehouse on Staten Island and a delivery depot in Queens. Ms James argues that Amazon failed to thoroughly clean its buildings, conduct inadequate contact tracing for known Kovid-19 cases, and “swiftly retaliated” to silence complaints from workers.
“James’s excessive profit and exponential growth rate came at the cost of the life, health and safety of his frontline workers,” Ms. James argued in the complaint, Filed In the new york supreme court
Amazon spokesman Kelly Nantel said the company paid close attention to the health and safety of its workers.
“We do not believe that the Attorney General’s filing presents an accurate picture of Amazon’s industry-leading picture,” Ms. Nanta said.
Last week, Amazon Already sued In federal court in an attempt to prevent Ms. James from bringing charges. The company argued that workplace safety was a matter of federal, not state, law.
In its 64-page complaint last week, Amazon said its security measures are “required under the law.” It cited a surprise inspection by the New York City Sheriff’s Office that found Amazon “goes above and beyond current compliance requirements.” The company also elaborated on other safety measures, including temperature checks and offering free Kovid-19 tests on site.
New York said in its suit that Amazon received written notice at the Staten Island warehouse of at least 250 employees who owned the Kovid-19. The filing states that in more than 90 of those cases, the infected employee was at work last week, yet Amazon had not closed the building to allow the state to get proper ventilation as needed.
Ms. James said that at least until the end of June, Amazon had not interviewed the infected workers to determine their close contacts and instead relied on a review of surveillance footage, which could take up to three days and cover the entire warehouse Did not cover. The complaint states that the lack of interviews created a very time-consuming process that does not identify close contact in a timely fashion.
He also argued that Amazon retaliated Christian small, A labor company fired in the spring. Mr. Smalls was raising security concerns with managers and leading public protests in the parking lot of the Staten Island facility.
Amazon has said that Mr Smalls was fired for going to the work site for the protest, even though he was left paying after being exposed to a coworker who tested positive for coronovirus.
Ms. James’s filing stated that two of Amazon’s HR staff discussed Mr. Smalls’ position in writing. Employees said they deemed it inappropriate to fire him because he did not enter the building and because Amazon did not tell him that the company’s quarantine policy prevented him from being out of the facility.
Ms. James said that by firing Mr. Small and reprimanding another protest leader, Amazon sent a chilling message to others.
“Amazon employees fear that if they make legitimate health and safety complaints about Amazon’s Kovid-19 response, Amazon will retaliate against them as well,” she argued.
The state said that Amazon should change its policies, undergo training and undergo security monitoring, and that Mr. Small should pay the lost wages and other damages and give him back his job.