SEATTLE — Amazon may have violated federal worker safety laws and New York State’s whistle-blower protections when it fired an employee from its Staten Island warehouse who protested the company’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, according to a letter the office of the New York attorney general, Letitia James, sent the company last week.
The letter, which was earlier reported by National Public Radio, was confirmed by Ms. James’s office. Amazon did not respond to a request for comment.
Amazon has been under pressure for the safety of its hundreds of thousands of workers who are packing and shipping products to millions of homebound Americans in the pandemic. The company has rolled out various safety measures at its warehouses across the country, such as temperature checks and mandatory masks, but it has faced protests at several facilities from employees who have said they feel unsafe. As of early April, workers at more than 50 of its warehouses in the United States had contracted the coronavirus.
The case that Ms. James’s office has been looking into involves Christopher Smalls, an employee in Amazon’s Staten Island warehouse. In late March, Mr. Smalls agitated for more worker protections at the facility as co-workers began getting sick. On March 28, Amazon put Mr. Smalls on quarantine for being in contact with a worker who had contracted the coronavirus.
Source: NY Times