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No protection against Corona: New York files a lawsuit against Amazon

No protection against corona
New York files lawsuit against Amazon

This is not the first time that Amazon has come under criticism for violating corona measures. Now the US state of New York is taking legal action against the trading giant. The world’s largest online retailer is also being scrutinized in numerous other states.

The retail giant Amazon has to answer in the US state of New York for the allegation of inadequate protective measures for its employees against Covid-19. The New York attorney general has now filed a lawsuit against the company after the company filed a lawsuit last week to ward off prosecution against its occupational health and safety practices.

“Throughout the pandemic, Amazon has repeatedly and persistently violated its obligation to take sensible and appropriate measures to protect its workers from the spread of the virus in its New York City facilities,” wrote Attorney General Letitia James in her lawsuit before the State Supreme Court.

Amazon, according to a company spokeswoman, “doesn’t believe the Attorney General’s lawsuit paints an accurate picture of Amazon’s industry-leading response to the pandemic.”

Employees protest

James began her investigation after Amazon laid off worker Christian Smalls last year. Smalls was one of a group of employees who stopped work at the Staten Island office last March to draw attention to calls for better pay and additional protection against the risk of infection. The protest was one of several nationwide. Amazon has not taken sufficient measures to protect against Covid-19, so the allegation.

According to Amazon, Smalls was fired for violating social distancing guidelines. He also ignored a quarantine instruction after coming into contact with an employee who tested positive for the virus. Smalls isn’t the only Amazon worker to contend that he was fired for what he said.


Amazon employees protest outside Jeff Bezos’ home.

(Foto: picture alliance / STRF/STAR MAX/IPx)

In its own lawsuit, Amazon argues that New York does not have the right to regulate the company’s operations in its warehouses, but that federal law regulates regulators such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a federal agency that oversees workplace safety. Amazon said Attorney General James threatened to sue the company if it fails to comply with requests to lower its performance requirements and pay a “large sum” to Smalls.

The New York case is part of the legal and labor issues that Amazon faces. A union vote of thousands of employees is in progress at a distribution center in Alabama. California is investigating how the company deals with sellers in its online marketplace, and Connecticut authorities are investigating how Amazon sells and distributes digital books.

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