- A lawsuit filed by three Amazon workers calls into question the company’s contact tracing efforts.
- Amazon reviews surveillance footage to identify those who were in contact with an infected individual, which isn’t in line with CDC guidelines around contact tracing.
- One occupational health expert called Amazon’s contact tracing efforts inadequate.
When Derrick Palmer learned that his supervisor at Amazon had the coronavirus, he immediately notified the company.
“I told them that I was in contact with this person, that I might have the virus and possibly spread it,” said Palmer, a worker at Amazon’s Staten Island facility, known as JFK8.
Palmer was sure that Amazon would tell him to go home and quarantine.
Instead, they told him to report to work as usual the next day, Palmer told CNBC.
Now, Palmer and two other JFK8 workers have filed a lawsuit on that calls into question the company’s efforts to track and prevent the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus among workers, arguing that it has failed to follow proper guidelines provided by public health agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Amazon’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been criticized by warehouse workers, politicians and state attorneys general. They argue Amazon moved too slowly in its efforts to provide personal protective equipment, temperature checks and other tools to keep employees safe. The company and its CEO Jeff Bezos have pushed back on these accusations, saying Amazon has gone to “great lengths” to protect workers from the coronavirus.
The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court for New York’s Eastern District, alleges that Amazon has “sought to create a facade of compliance,” but has failed to adequately protect workers from the virus in a number of ways, including “sloppy contact tracing.” Last week, the company notified employees of multiple new cases at JFK8, according to the lawsuit.