Amazon Tries to Dodge Federal Suit (NY)
A complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York on behalf of six plaintiffs alleges that Amazon failed to keep its JFK8 warehouse in Staten Island safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. The group of plaintiffs specifically allege that Amazon failed to comply with New York law and state and federal public health guidance during COVID-19 pandemic. The complaint asserts that the unsafe conditions led to the death of at least one Amazon worker, and caused other workers to bring the virus home with them, thereby endangering their families.
Amazons lawyers argue that the plaintiffs’ claims are an attempt to circumvent the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Judge Brian M. Cogan has already expressed reluctance with assessing health and safety condition at the warehouse, noting that workers seeking COVID 19 protections may have to turn to OSHA. Despite Judge Cogan’s trepidations, he did set a briefing schedule to last through August.
It will be interesting to see if the plaintiffs here are successful in bypassing OSHA, and are afforded the right to seek additional damages in Federal Court. If they are successful, we can expect a plethora of similarly situated workers to bring forth similar claims in Federal Court and not resort to the strict limitations set forth by OSHA.
Thanks to James Papadakis for his contribution to this post. Please contact Heather Aquino with any questions.