Amazon might face a lawsuit for failing to provide COVID-19 protections and health benefits to its employees and their families, The Verge shared.
In the Staten Island facility of Amazon, employees at the warehouse began voicing their cries over not receiving enough health benefits from the company in the middle of the pandemic scare. Even their families are affected, the report added.
On Wednesday, June 4, three Amazon workers at the company's JFK8 warehouse filed a complaint against the online selling platform, alleging that they placed "'a facade of compliance to meet public health guidelines" while pressuring the workers to work even under unsafe conditions.
They compared the situation of employees in New York who, according to the complaint Tech Times obtained from media outlets, remained safe because of the stay-at-home order. However, the scenery is different for these Amazon warehouse employees.
The company has already issued a statement, via their spokesperson Rachael Lighty. She said, "We are saddened by the tragic impact COVID-19 has had on communities across the globe, including on some Amazon team members and their family and friends."
Lighty added that from March to May 1, the company offered its employees unlimited time to work and even offered leave for those who are vulnerable to the virus. Modified regulations are also set for workers who need to take care of their relatives and family members.
For the employees, however, it is the opposite.
What employees are saying
Barbara Chandler, an employee at JFK8, was among the first confirmed cases of COVID-19, the complaint added. After having the symptoms, the people in her household reportedly acquired the virus. These, in particular, are her cousin and eldest son.
Her cousin, later on, was found dead in their bathroom, due to the virus.
This complaint is only among the many accusations Amazon is facing in relation to its failure to protect its workers during the pandemic. As of press time, the company is reportedly denying requests for information on the number of confirmed cases in their workforce. They are arguing whether the data will be useless.
Nevertheless, Amazon confirmed death of their nine workers across all of its facilities in the United States, including those working at JFK8.
Amazon said it tripled the amount they clean their facilities and continuously provide masks and hand sanitizers in the workplace. They also committed to produce and distribute plastic face shields to their workers and to the general public.
Lighty also argued that there is currently a $4 billion worth of investment dedicated to combating COVID-19 in the workplace. In this amount, there's $800 million provided for temperature checks, enhanced cleaning, sanitation, benefits, testing, extended pay, and more. It also includes a two-week paid leave for those who need to have self-quarantine.
The response from the employees: inadequate. Though there are hand sanitizers, they noted that insufficient policies are making it impossible for them to implement social distancing. Those who applied for leave are waiting too long to receive the benefit.
Their complaint seeks a court order that will urge the online selling platform to expand its policies and partner with third parties for contact tracing. These constitute granting employees more fair compensation.
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of an associate at our site in Staten Island, NY," Amazon stated. "His family and loved ones are in our thoughts, and we are supporting his fellow colleagues."
The complaint was filed under the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.