(CNN Business) — Amazon has terminated an employee based in the company’s Staten Island, New York, warehouse after he participated in a worker walkout protesting the company’s response to the novel coronavirus.
Amazon () confirmed the firing Monday night, telling CNN Business in a statement that the employee, Christian Smalls, was supposed to be under quarantine.
“Mr. Smalls was found to have had close contact with a diagnosed associate with a confirmed case of COVID-19 and was asked to remain home with pay for 14 days, which is a measure we’re taking at sites around the world,” said Amazon spokesperson Kristen Kish. “Despite that instruction to stay home with pay, he came onsite today, March 30, putting the teams at risk.”
The firing follows the protest partly organized by Smalls, who had called on Amazon to shut down the Staten Island facility for deep cleaning after multiple cases of the coronavirus emerged there. In an interview on Sunday, Smalls told CNN he had spent the past week trying to persuade senior warehouse officials to close the building and sterilize it, but to no avail.