New York is suing Amazon, claiming the company failed to provide a safe environment for workers in two state camps as COVID-19 infections increased nationwide.
New York Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit landed just days after Amazon preemptively sued to block the lawsuit over its coronavirus security protocols and the sacking of one of its employees who protested labor conditions.
In the lawsuit filed late Tuesday, New York alleged that Amazon had shown “an apparent disregard for health and safety requirements” and illegally protested against employees who raised the alarm.
“We care deeply about the health and safety of our employees, as our filing last week demonstrated, and we don’t believe the Attorney General’s filing provides an accurate picture of Amazon’s industry-leading response to the pandemic,” said Amazon- Spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said in a statement.
Chris Smalls, an assistant warehouse manager for Amazon, organized a strike from Staten Island, New YorkAs early as March 2020, there was an outcry from the New York Mayor and the Attorney General.
Smalls lost his job after helping lead a protest against claims by some workers that the company was not taking precautions against the coronavirus.
The investigation followed complaints
James opened an investigation against Amazon in March after complaining about the lack of precautions to protect employees at New York facilities during the pandemic. The investigation was later expanded to investigate whether Amazon unlawfully dismissed or disciplined employees who reported these security concerns.
Amazon also hadwho criticized the company’s warehouse operations and climate policy. Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa, both user experience designers, said on Twitter in April that the company had laid them off.
The two were part of a group of employees called Amazon Employees for Climate Justice who had urged the company to implement greener policies.
Cunningham and Costa had also openly criticized Amazon’s treatment of warehouse workers in recent weeks, including tweeting a petition calling for increased sick leave, higher wages and the closure of facilities where Amazon employees test positive for the coronavirus had. You and other workers have also raised medium for warehouse workers who had to quarantine themselves.
In a statement at the time, an Amazon spokesman said the women had been fired “for repeated violations of internal guidelines.”
“We support the right of every employee to criticize the working conditions of his employer, but that does not mean blanket immunity from all internal guidelines,” the statement said.