The lawsuit was filed with the support of groups Make the Road New York, Public Justice and Towards Justice.
We’ve asked Amazon for comment. In a statement to CNBC, it maintained that it followed all national and local health guidelines, including the CDC’s contact tracing approach. The firm reviews camera footage, checks where people were present and conducts interviews, according to a spokesperson. It also insisted that it immediately alerts all workers if there’s a positive case, and that it was up to employees to disclose if they tested positive.
Critics have already contended that Amazon’s approach isn’t enough, though, and doesn’t meet CDC guidelines despite claims to the contrary. Warehouse footage only covers 24 hours (not the 48 hours needed for CDC tracing) and likely doesn’t include high-contact areas like washrooms. It would also break CDC guidelines if it discouraged staff from revealing positive test results. As in the past, then, there appears to be a gap between what Amazon says it’s doing to protect workers and what people say is happening.
Update 6/7 7PM ET: Amazon reiterated to Engadget that it followed all guidelines, and that 91 of its facilities have passed state inspections. A spokesperson added that the company was “saddened” by the effects of COVID-19 and pointed to what it had already done, including unlimited time off early on as well as safety investments. It didn’t, however, talk about addressing current complaints. You can read the full statement below.
“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. From early March to May 1, we offered our employees unlimited time away from work, and since May 1 we have offered leave for those most vulnerable or who need to care for children or family members. We also invested $4 billion from April to June on COVID-related initiatives, including over $800 million in the first half of this year on safety measures like temperature checks, masks, gloves, enhanced cleaning and sanitization, extended pay and benefits options, testing, and more. This includes two weeks paid leave for any COVID diagnosis or quarantine, and launching a $25 million fund to support our partners and contractors.”
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