In an interview with Bloomberg, a former Amazon employee claimed that, after leading a protest against the company’s health and safety conditions in the face of the current covid-19 pandemic, he was fired on Monday (30) along with 60 others. employees who joined the cause.
Chris Smalls, a former junior manager at the Staten Island call center in the New York City district, said the group just wanted the company to clean the site properly.
Amazon has already publicly positioned itself in relation to the current pandemic, instituting a series of preventive actions, such as inserting useful tips in Alexa’s information booklet and teaching its customers how to handle orders correctly, in order to avoid possible infections.
Despite this, the company has already been the target of a series of protests related to its internal policies during the pandemic. According to Chris Smalls, employees did not receive protective equipment. As a result, many were afraid of contracting the virus and end up contaminating their families.
Protesters also declared that several of their colleagues were diagnosed with covid-19. In response, Amazon confirmed to Bloomberg that it did fire Smalls, but pointed out that the former employee would have violated security rules, including not adhering to the recommendation to isolate himself after being exposed to an infected colleague.
“Mr. Smalls received several warnings for violating the social detachment guidelines and for jeopardizing the safety of others. [He] was asked to stay at home for 14 days,” said the company.
Amazon also contested the number of employees involved in the protest, claiming that only 15 people participated. Smalls countered that the company’s defense was retaliation against him and was based on false information.
New York Attorney General Letitia James spoke out on behalf of former employees, asking the National Council for Labor Relations to investigate the case. “It is a shame that Amazon has fired an employee who bravely stood up to protect himself and his colleagues,” said the prosecutor.