NYS Attorney General sues Amazon over COVID-19 workplace protection complaints

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Posted at 8:23 AM, Feb 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-17 08:23:18-05

NEW YORK (WKBW) — The New York State Attorney General's office has announced it is suing Amazon following complaints the company did not do enough to protect workers from COVID-19.

In a release sent to 7 Eyewitness News Wednesday morning, the attorney general's office says Amazon failed to "provide adequate health and safety measures for employees at the company's New York facilities," and claims Amazon violated state labor law by taking retaliatory action against several employees during the pandemic.

The lawsuit stems from a nearly year-long investigation into complaints that Amazon did not take the proper safety precautions to protect workers at its downstate facilities in Queens and Staten Island from coronavirus as the pandemic broke out in March 2020.

That investigation found evidence showing that Amazon’s health and safety response violated state law with respect to cleaning and disinfection protocols, contact tracing, and generally permitting employees to take necessary precautions to protect themselves from the risk of COVID-19 infection, among other things.

It also found that Amazon unlawfully fired and disciplined workers who reported their concerns about Amazon’s compliance with these health and safety mandates.

The lawsuit, filed in the Supreme Court of New York County, seeks broad injunctive relief and damages, including:

  • Requiring Amazon to take all affirmative steps, including changing policies, conducting training, and undergoing monitoring, among others, to ensure that Amazon reasonably and adequately protects the lives, health, and safety of its employees.
  • Requiring Amazon to give up the profits it made as a result of its illegal acts.
  • Awarding liquidated damages and emotional distress damages to two employees who were allegedly fired for reporting workplace safety issues.

You can read the full lawsuit here: