COVID-19: NY Sues AG Amazon
The Attorney General of New York, in the United States of America (USA), Letitia James, has sued Amazon.com Inc over its handling of safety of workers at two its
According to a report by Reuters, on Tuesday, lawsuit was coming just four days after the retailing company had filed its own suit at Brooklyn federal coirt, seeking to stop her from suing.
In a complaint filed in a New York state court in Manhattan, James claimed that Amazon’s drive for faster growth and higher profits led to its “flagrant disregard” of steps needed to protect workers from the coronavirus at a Staten Island fulfillment center and a Queens distribution center, both in New York City.
The Attorney General also accused Amazon of illegally retaliating when employees began to complain, including when it fired activist Christian Smalls, last March, purportedly for violating a paid quarantine when he led a protest over conditions at the Staten Island warehouse.
“Throughout the historic pandemic, Amazon has repeatedly and persistently failed to comply with its obligation to institute reasonable and adequate measures to protect its workers.
“Amazon has cut corners in complying with the particular requirements that would most jeopardize its sales volume and productivity rates,” she added.
Amazon also faced scrutiny last March when workers protested conditions at the Staten Island warehouse, even as New York City announced its own probe at the time.
The Attorney General’s lawsuit, the report added, seeks to require Amazon to upgrade its protections for workers, reinstate Smalls and pay damages to him and another worker who allegedly faced retaliation.
Amazon said in its lawsuit that federal labour and safety laws took precedence over New York’s in addressing workplace safety, and that James was overstepping her authority.
“We care deeply about the health and safety of our employees, as demonstrated in our filing,” Amazon spokeswoman, Kelly Nantel, said in response to James’ lawsuit.
“We don’t believe the Attorney General’s filing presents an accurate picture of Amazon’s industry-leading response to the pandemic,” Nantel added.