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New York City Investigates Amazon For Human Rights Violation During Coronavirus Pandemic

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New York City Investigates Amazon For Human Rights Violation During Coronavirus Pandemic

The New York City mayor Bill de Blasio has ordered an investigation into Amazon.com Inc.'s (NASDAQ: AMZN) firing of a worker who organized a mass protest against the company's policy on novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

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What Happened

"I have ordered the City's Commission on Human Rights to investigate Amazon immediately, to determine if that's true," de Blasio said in a press conference on Tuesday. "If so, that'd be a violation of our City Human Rights Law we would act on it immediately."

The mayor added that the city Sheriff's office also inspected the Amazon Staten Island warehouse, where the incident occurred "to ensure that social distancing is being observed and they will continue to inspect as needed."

New York Attorney General Letitia James earlier called for investigations into the matter. "In New York, the right to organize is codified into law, and any retaliatory action by management related thereto is strictly prohibited," she said, as reported by the Hill.

Why It Matters

The Amazon employee Christian Smalls had organized a walkout on Monday at the Staten Island facility to protest what he said was the lack of protection given to the workers against the coronavirus.

Amazon fired Smalls following the walkout for violating the company's "social distancing guidelines."

Eleven Amazon warehouses have seen at least one worker test positive for COVID-19. The e-commerce giant has seen protest at other sites as well, including in Italy last week.

Workers, who have neither tested positive for the deadly virus nor have been quarantined by authorities as a suspected case, can only receive unpaid leaves during the pandemic.

Price Action

Amazon's shares closed 0.72% lower at $1,949.72 on Tuesday. The stock traded another 0.6% lower at $1,938 in the after-hours session.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Amazon.

 

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