Amazon employees filed a lawsuit that alleges that the mega-corporation is not doing enough to protect its workers from the coronavirus. Nine Amazon employees across the country have died from the coronavirus. While millions of Americans are staying home, and some are lucky enough to work from home, Amazon warehouse employees have been on the frontline of the supply chain (Corporate Amazon employees are working from home until at least 2021). Without these brave workers, people following the “shelter-in-place” orders would not be able to get many of the essential items they need.
Workers at other companies in the United States report a lax attitude of their employers toward worker safety from the coronavirus. A Seattle employment lawyer can provide guidance and advice if you feel that your employer is taking unnecessary risks with your health.
The JFK8 Walk-Out
Amazon workers at the JFK8 warehouse in Staten Island, New York, walked off the job to increase public awareness of Amazon’s failure to protect its employees. Workers accused Amazon of providing inadequate supplies for them to sanitize their workspaces and making them perform their tasks in settings in which they cannot follow social distancing guidelines.
The Lawsuit Allegations Against Amazon
The lawsuit against Amazon alleges that the corporation has merely put up a front of complying with government guidelines about the coronavirus while reaping massive sales increases because of the pandemic. Even though the stay at home orders did not happen until near the end of the first quarter of 2020, the surge was enough to increase Amazon’s sales for the entire quarter by 26%.
The lawsuit does not ask for any money damages. Instead, the advocacy groups that filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Amazon workers want the court to issue an injunction that orders Amazon to comply with the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the state of New York. By way of example, the lawsuit asks Amazon to give workers more time to sanitize their workstations and provide them with access to 48 hours of paid time off.
In its defense, Amazon says that during the months of April and May, it spent $4 billion on initiatives related to the coronavirus. The corporation says that it offered employees as much time as they needed away from work during the March and April and that on May 1, it started providing leave for at-risk workers or employees who needed to care for children or other family members.
Further, Amazon says that it does temperature checks, enhanced cleaning and sanitization, and provides masks and gloves. It offers testing and extended pay and benefit options for its employees. The company says that it spent over $800 million on these items.
The lawsuit demonstrates the conflict between health and the economy and underscores the risks some people face because their jobs are not possible to do from home. Because we have not, in modern history, faced a global pandemic of this scale, neither employers nor workers have experience dealing with a situation like this.
Schedule a consult today. We can help to protect your legal rights if you think that your employer has not followed the applicable guidelines to protect you from COVID-19.