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 properly 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 the Attorney General’s filing presented an accurate picture of Amazon’s industry-leading response to the epidemic,” Ms Nanta said.
Last week, Amazon Already sued In federal court in an effort 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 that its security measures “exceed those required by law.” It cited an surprise inspection by the New York City Sheriff’s Office, which found that 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 working last week, yet Amazon did not close portions of the building to provide the necessary ventilation in the state, the filing said.
Ms. James said that at least until the end of June, Amazon did not interview 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 protesting, even though he was on paid quarantine leave after being exposed to a coworker who tested positive for coronovirus.
Ms. James’s filing stated that two Amazon HR employees discussed Mr. Small’s position in writing. Employees said they thought it was inappropriate to fire him because he did not go into the building and because Amazon did not tell him that the company’s quarantine policy prevented him from staying 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 also retaliate against them,” 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.