Amazon Faces Lawsuit From Workers For Neglecting CDC, New York Guidelines On Coronavirus

Three Inc. AMZN employees at its Staten Island facility have sued the company for the lack of safety measures against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), CNBC reported Saturday.

What Happened

The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for New York's Eastern District last Wednesday, alleges that the e-commerce giant violated several Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and New York state guidelines in its response to the pandemic at the State Island warehouse.

The workers have alleged that Amazon discouraged workers from performing basic hygiene like washing or sanitizing hands if it interfered with their work "even for a moment," as reported by CNBC.

The Seattle-based company also purposefully concealed information about workers testing positive for COVID-19 from their coworkers at the facility, the lawsuit claims.

"Workers at Amazon's JFK8 facility are asking a court to enforce public health guidance at our workplace because we've seen how the company's current leave and break policies and failure to do thorough contact tracing of ill workers' interactions have put all of us at risk," Derrick Palmer, one of the three plaintiffs, said in a statement.

Why It Matters

Amazon has faced criticism from its workers for lack of protection against COVID-19, ever since the pandemic took hold in the United States.

The e-commerce company fired a worker, Christian Smalls, who organized protests at the Staten Island warehouse earlier, saying he put others at risk, a move that sparked widespread outrage and legal scrutiny.

Amazon has seen a surge in business during the pandemic as demand for home delivery of goods increased. The company added 175,000 people to its workforce in the U.S. since March and is now offering permanent positions to a majority of these workers.

Amazon Price Action

Amazon shares closed 0.9% higher at $2,483 on Friday. The shares traded slightly lower at $2,479.30 in the after-hours session.

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