Wednesday, February 17, 2021

New York Sues Amazon Over COVID-19 Workplace Safety

New York Attorney General Letitia James sued Amazon on Tuesday over workplace safety concerns at two of the company's distribution and fulfillment centers in Queens and Staten Island.

Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

New York Attorney General Letitia James sued Amazon on Tuesday, claiming the massive e-commerce company's "flagrant disregard for health and safety requirements" during the coronavirus pandemic put the lives of workers and the general public at risk.

She accused the company of shoddy contact tracing and poor cleaning — both designed to prevent the spread of the virus — at two New York facilities: a Staten Island fulfillment center and a Queens distribution center. A worker at the State Island plant warehouse died of COVID-19.

The Staten Island facility employs about 5,000 workers, and the Queens distribution center employs several hundred workers — most of whom were deemed essential during the pandemic, the filing says.

James began investigating Amazon in March 2020 after receiving several complaints from current and former Amazon employees.

The company "failed to follow health and safety requirements" at its massive distribution hubs in violation of New York's labor laws, James said. Under state guidelines, employers are required to provide "reasonable and adequate protection" to their employees.

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