A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed Amazon.com Inc’s lawsuit to prevent the New York attorney general from investigating the online retailer’s ability to protect warehouse workers from COVID-19.
U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan in Brooklyn dismissed Amazon’s claim that Attorney General Letitia James acted in bad faith in trying to control his response to the pandemic and stop his alleged retaliation against workers who were unhappy that the company is not doing more.
“The state has a legitimate interest in ensuring that employers obey state labor laws, enforce important health safety measures, and are penalized for illegal behavior that occurs in the state,” he said. writes Cogan.
Amazon argued that federal health and labor laws took precedence over James’ oversight.
Amazon spokesman Kelly Nantel said in a statement: “We are disappointed with today’s procedural decision, which the court said does not mean the underlying allegations by the Attorney General are founded. “
Amazon cared deeply for the health and safety of its employees and was proud of its response to the pandemic, she added.
Morgan Rubin, spokesperson for James, said in an email: “We applaud this decision and look forward to continuing our litigation against Amazon in state court and protecting our workers. “
James sued Amazon in February over its treatment of thousands of workers at a Staten Island fulfillment center and a Queens fulfillment center.
She accused Amazon of prioritizing profits over safety and inappropriately disciplining two employees protesting the working conditions, one of whom was fired.
James is seeking a court-appointed security checker, while Amazon seeks to dismiss his case, which is pending in Manhattan state court.
On Monday, the average seven-day COVID-19 positivity test rate was 3.68% in Staten Island and 2.61% in Queens. The New York City average was 2.60%.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Additional reporting by Jeffrey Dastin; editing by Richard Pullin)
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