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Amazon Faces COVID-19 Lawsuit

Amazon faces a lawsuit alleging it failed to protect workers from COVID-19.

The company debated that the New York AG did not have a jurisdiction over the workplace issues.

A federal judge has granted the New York attorney general’s request to move a lawsuit against Amazon back to the state court of New York. Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit claims that the e-commerce giant failed to protect workers at its Brooklyn and Staten Island warehouses from COVID-19 amidst the early months of the pandemic, and then retaliated against the employees who complained about the lack of safety measures.

Amazon then sought to have the case moved to federal court, arguing that workplace safety issues haven’t been under James’ domain. The company pre-emptively sued James last February 12th, and then James sued Amazon four days after. Amazon then moved the lawsuit to the federal court.

“Amazon has forced its employees to work in unsafe conditions throughout this pandemic,” James declared in a statement after US District Judge Jed Rakoff’s order. “We are pleased with today’s decision to allow this case to be heard in state court, where it belongs.”

The ruling didn’t address the merits of the lawsuit, which is seeking improved conditions for workers and damages for two Amazon workers who stated that the company retaliated against them.

Workers from Amazon’s JKF8 warehouse in Staten Island stated last March that they didn’t have the proper protective equipment. Amazon then fired many workers who protested the conditions, including Chris Smalls, who organized the walkout.

That time, James called Smalls’ firing “disgraceful” and then pushed for an investigation by the National Labor Relations Board. Amazon stated that the workers “were not terminated for talking publicly about the working conditions” but for violating the safety policies.

Amazon has not yet commented about this issue.

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