The Attorney General of New York is moving to sue Amazon alleging that the company was not providing sufficient health and safety measures for its workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
New York Attorney General Letitia James announced the lawsuit on Wednesday in a press release from her office, stating that the company had violated state labor law by failing to “maintain a safe work environment” to protect workers from COVID-19.
The investigation was first launched last March, the statement read, following complaints regarding the lack of health measures by Amazon to protect their workers at a fulfillment center on Staten Island and a distribution center in Queens. The investigation found evidence that the company did not respect cleaning protocols or contact tracing protocols.
We found that Amazon failed to adhere to proper cleaning and disinfection protocols, refused to notify employees when colleagues tested positive for #COVID19, and didn’t allow employees to take basic precautions to protect themselves from a fatal virus.
— NY AG James (@NewYorkStateAG) February 17, 2021
“While Amazon and its CEO made billions during this crisis, hardworking employees were forced to endure unsafe conditions and were retaliated against for rightfully voicing these concerns.” James said in the statement.
James also accused Amazon of retaliating against two workers who raised concerns by firing them, the statement read in part. (RELATED: Amazon To Pay $61.7 Million For Allegedly Keeping Tips From Delivery Driver)
The statement concluded by asking Amazon to change policies and conduct training to protect “the lives, health and safety” of their employees. The lawsuit also called for Amazon to give up its profits it made “as a result of their illegal acts.”
“We don’t believe the Attorney General’s filing presents an accurate picture of Amazon’s industry-leading response to the pandemic,” Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Nantel told Reuters.
”We care deeply about the health and safety of our employees, as demonstrated in our filing,” the spokeswoman said.