Just days after Amazons sued her, New York Attorney General Letitia James struck back with a similar measure, amid mutual accusations about COVID-19 workplace safety protocols.
According to James, Amazon has allegedly failed to protect its workers at two NYC facilities from the pandemic.
The state attorney alleges that Amazon has “repeatedly and persistently failed” to take appropriate steps to protect its workers at its Staten Island and Queens warehouses, says the lawsuit filed yesterday at the Supreme Court of the County of New York (Manhattan).
“Since at least March 2020 when the COVID-19 outbreak began to devastate New York City, Amazon has failed to meet the cleaning and disinfection requirements when the infected workers had been present at their facilities “, indicates the court document, cited by New York Post.
“Amazon did not properly identify or notify potential contacts of those infected workers; and Amazon failed to ensure that its discipline and productivity policies, and automated productivity rates by line speeds, allowed its employees to take the time to engage in necessary hygiene, sanitation, social distancing, and cleaning practices. ” legal filing continues.
James also accuses the retailer of taking retaliation against your employees, including the firing of a worker, Christian Smalls, last March for denouncing that the company apparently did not comply with health regulations and that benefited from billions of dollars, while exposing its workers to the virus.
“During the course of the pandemic, Amazon obtained plus $ 130 billion in profits of online sales, representing a 35% growth in their pre-pandemic earnings and a growth rate 10% higher than in previous years, at the expense of their front-line workers who have experienced significant risks of COVID-infection. 19 while they worked at Amazon, ”the lawsuit details.
In anticipation, Amazon sued James on Friday saying it had overstepped its limits by launching the investigation against the company, and said it had succeeded in an unannounced inspection on March 30 because it followed COVID-19 security protocols at the time. .
“We deeply care about the health and safety of our employees, as demonstrated in our lawsuit last week, and we do not believe that the Attorney General’s presentation presents an accurate picture of the industry leading response from Amazon to the pandemic, “said spokeswoman Kelly Nantel.
Amazon claimed in the lawsuit that their security practices against coronavirus “far exceeded” what the state required at that moment.
More than 19,000 employees, equivalent to 1.44% of Amazon’s frontline workers in the U.S., had contracted COVID-19 as of September, the company said.
In December, the NLRB determined that Amazon illegally fired Gerald Bryson, an employee who alerted about job safety on Staten Island, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.