An investigation by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in the US has found that Amazon allegedly threatened and retaliated against workers protesting the company’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The official NLRB documents, seen by Motherboard, revealed that the e-commerce behemoth “illegally interrogated and threatened Jonathan Bailey, a lead organiser of the Queens Amazon walkouts, who has issued a federal complaint against Amazon”.
The case pertains to an Amazon warehouse in Queens, New York.
Amazon in October last year revealed that 19,816 front-line employees in the US were tested positive or been presumed positive for the disease.
“Amazon did its best to keep everybody working while simultaneously crushing our effort to fight back,” Bailey was quoted as saying in the report on Monday.
He was interrogated by the Amazon management after leading a walkout at the Queens facility on March 20, 2020, according to his NLRB testimony.
In February this year, New York Attorney General Letitia James sued Amazon for failing to provide adequate safety measures and retaliating against workers who raised concerns.
In an unusual move, Amazon also filed a lawsuit against James, in a bid to stop her from regulating the company’s workplace safety response to the Covid-19 pandemic. James responded that she will “not be intimidated by anyone.”
Amazon has disputed the NLRB investigation.
“While we disagree with allegations made in the case, we are pleased to put this matter behind us,” a company spokesperson told The Verge.
“The health and safety of our employees is our top priority and we are proud to provide inclusive environments, where employees can excel without fear of retaliation, intimidation or harassment,” the spokesperson added.
Amazon faced severe criticism from current and former employees who alleged that early in the pandemic, the company did not put enough safety measures to protect the employees from contracting Covid-19.
The company said that it invested $10 billion to help keep employees safe and deliver products to customers throughout 2020.