Amazon Says It Has Another Reason for Firing Worker Who Demanded Better COVID-19 Response

Published April 1st, 2020 - 08:25 GMT
Amazon Says It Has Another Reason for Firing Worker Who Demanded Better COVID-19 Response
Chrisitan Smalls denied the companies claims and accused Amazon of lying to the public. (AFP)

Facing backlash after news of terminating one of its Staten Island, New York warehouse workers, Amazon explained that the company's decision to fire the employee has nothing to do with his demand for a better coronavirus response.

In a statement released yesterday, the e-commerce giant highlighted that the worker, who led a walkout with other employees demanding better health measures amid the deadly virus was fired indeed, but that the decision was taken after "the worker, who was sent home after reporting being in direct contact with a COVID-19 supervisor, violated safety measures and came back for the protest, endangering others' lives".

Amazon clarified that assistant manager Christian Smalls was asked to stay at home for a 14-day paid quarantine, following information that he had been in touch with an individual who was later diagnosed with the novel coronavirus.

The company continued to explaine that the employee has committed a serious violation of safety measures taken by Amazon to keep its teams safe across the world, as the virus continues to take more than 42k lives worldwide.

On his Twitter, Christian Smalls denied Amazon's claims saying that "he was not on a paid leave." He also accused the company of lying to the public and that while they sent him home a few days ago "they didn't do the same with other employees who were in contact with the same supervisor".

Amazon has been slammed for its decision to carry on with manufacturing and shipping services across the US despite the drastic rise of coronavirus infections in the country. The company only grants employees with no record of direct contact with confirmed cases unpaid leaves, while it says it's putting extra effort into cleaning its sites regularly.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has ordered the city’s human rights commissioner to investigate the incident.

A few weeks ago de Blasio called on the federal government to call for a nationwide lockdown, a demand that was refused by US President Donald J. Trump, who insisted that "people should go on with their lives to avoid an economic collapse."

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