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18 Nov 2020

Tyler Sonnemaker, Business Insider

USA: Amazon faces COVID-19 class action lawsuit alleging discrimination against workers of color and immigrants


"Amazon is facing a lawsuit that accuses it of violating civil rights laws by failing to protect Black, Brown, and immigrant warehouse workers from COVID-19 while looking out for its mostly white managers", 14 November 2020.

Amazon is facing a class action lawsuit that accuses it of violating state and federal civil rights laws by intentionally working harder to protect its managers, who are disproportionately white, from COVID-19, while not taking the same precautions with its overwhelmingly Black, Brown, and immigrant warehouse workers...which was filed Thursday in a federal court in New York by Chris Smalls, a former worker at Amazon's fulfillment center in Staten Island, New York.

Smalls, who is Black, was fired by Amazon in March just hours after leading a protest of the company's early pandemic response.

"We terminated Mr. Smalls for putting the health and safety of others at risk and violations of his terms of his employment...Amazon spokesperson Lisa Levandowski told...

But Smalls claimed in the lawsuit that, at the time, Amazon wasn't taking employees' temperatures, providing PPE, enforcing social distancing, or following public health officials' cleaning guidelines — and after his coworker tested positive, Smalls claimed he was the one who requested paid time off for himself and his coworkers to quarantine after Amazon failed to act...

Amazon denied that its safety measures were motivated by race and said it values diversity and inclusion, referring Business Insider to its official statements on the topic and its $27 million in donations to racial justice organizations...