A press release issued by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) earlier this week announced a decision from the Eastern District of New York requiring Amazon to stop discharging employees for engaging in protected activities like union organization.
The decision, issued earlier this month by Judge Diane Gujarati, found that in the case of an Amazon worker employed at its Staten Island warehouse, the company likely illegally fired him for engaging in protected activities. The order further instructed Amazon to post, distribute, and read the court’s findings to employees of its Staten Island warehouse.
The 30-page opinion delved into the facts leading up to the man’s termination, including his organizational activities. Specifically, the worker called into question workplace health and safety protections during the COVID-19 pandemic. Too, he protested, alongside his co-workers, Amazon’s failure to provide greater safety protections to employees, the NLRB said.
In enjoining Amazon, Judge Gujarati said there was “reasonable cause to believe” that unfair labor practices were committed by Amazon in connection with its termination of the Staten Island employee.
While the injunction does not order reinstatement of the employee, it does order Amazon to cease and desist from further discharges for protected activities under the National Labor Relations Act. If Amazon violates the cease-and-desist order, it could be held in contempt of court, the press release noted.
The decision comes amidst sizzling tension between Amazon and the NLRB over warehouse employee welfare and organizational concerns. In 2021, the agency determined that Amazon illegally fired activist workers. Around the same time, the New York Attorney General took action against Amazon over its COVID-19 warehouse worker safety practices and procedures, despite the company’s attempts to avoid liability.