By Jonathan Stempel
NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York State Attorney General on Tuesday asked a state judge to appoint a monitor to oversee employee safety at a compliance center at Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ 🙂 in New York, citing the trader’s alleged COVID delays. 19 security measures were “already inadequate”.
Attorney General Letitia James also wants a court order demanding the re-hiring of Christian Smalls, leading to a protest in March 2020 for allegedly violating the quarantine paid by Amazon for violating conditions at the Staten Island facility.
Amazon did not immediately respond to comments.
James, a Democrat running for governor of New York, sued Amazon in February in a New York state court in Manhattan for security protocols for thousands of workers at the Staten Island facility and a distribution center in Queens, New York.
Amazon said it values profits above security and is “acting as if the pandemic is over” by pushing back security protocols, although the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus threatens to increase transmission rates.
The alleged delays include making Staten Island facilities “optional masks” for vaccinated workers while not requiring masks for unvaccinated workers, and non-compliance with social distance.
In a request for a preliminary order, James said the proposed monitor would oversee cleaning, hygiene and social removal procedures.
“While case rates, hospitalizations and deaths are rising, Amazon is suspending protections and gathering more employees due to the holiday rush,” James said in his motion. “Amazon needs to stop the ongoing and deteriorating failure to protect its employees.”
The Seattle-based company is appealing to a New York state judge to dismiss James’ case in October.
Amazon reached an agreement on November 15 to resolve claims that it violated the state’s “right to know” law by hiding the number of workers infected with COVID-19 from warehouse workers and local health agencies.
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