What you need to know
- Amazon has been sued by employees over worker safety issues in its fulfillment warehouses.
- At least one employee contracted COVID-19 from its warehouses, leading to a death.
- The company also faced similar legal issues in France.
Amazon has been sued by employees over its warehouse conditions which allegedly foster the spread of the novel-coronavirus or COVID-19. The suit arose after an employee contracted the coronavirus and spread it in their household, leading to the death of a cousin.
One employee, Barbara Chandler, said she tested positive for COVID-19 in March and later saw several household members become sick, including a cousin who died on April 7.
The lawsuit said Amazon has made JFK8, which employs about 5,000, a "place of danger" by impeding efforts to stop the coronavirus spreading, boosting productivity at the expense of safety.
It said Amazon forces employees to work at "dizzying speeds, even if doing so prevents them from socially distancing, washing their hands, and sanitizing their work spaces."
Amazon did not comment on the lawsuit, but said it has always followed guidance from health authorities and its workplace safety experts since the coronavirus pandemic began.
Amazon's warehouses (and other similar operations) do lend themselves to the spread of the coronavirus due to their closed space. It wasn't so long ago that the company found themselves at the wrong end of a similar lawsuit in France where its working conditions were described as a "health bomb.".
In this one, as with that, the suit seeks to ensure is that Amazon protects its workers from COVID-19 and put policies in place to facilitate that.
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