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Decide palms Amazon a setback in New York lawsuit over COVID-19 shortfalls By Reuters 


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© Reuters. An Amazon employee delivers packages

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By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) -A federal decide on Friday dominated towards Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:) as the corporate defends towards New York Lawyer Normal Letitia James’ lawsuit claiming it prioritized revenue over employee security through the COVID-19 pandemic at two New York Metropolis warehouses.

U.S. District Decide Jed Rakoff in Manhattan granted James’ request to return her lawsuit to a New York state courtroom, and rejected Amazon’s bid to maneuver it to Brooklyn federal courtroom, the place the net retailer had sued James to cease her from suing.

James accused Amazon of ignoring its responsibility to take affordable steps to guard staff from the coronavirus at a Staten Island success heart and a Queens distribution heart, and retaliating towards staff who complained.

An Amazon spokeswoman declined to remark. Rakoff mentioned he’ll clarify the reasoning behind his two-paragraph order later.

“Amazon has compelled its workers to work in unsafe circumstances all through this pandemic,” James mentioned in welcoming her lawsuit’s transfer again to state courtroom, “the place it belongs.”

Whereas the ruling didn’t handle the dispute’s deserves, it’s a setback for Seattle-based Amazon, which accused James of overstepping her authority and mentioned federal legal guidelines moderately than New York’s ought to govern office security.

Amazon mentioned each lawsuits belonged within the Brooklyn courtroom as a result of Queens and Staten Island are in that jurisdiction, and suing in numerous courts was wasteful.

James mentioned Amazon had “minimize corners” in defending staff as a result of doing extra might threaten productiveness, gross sales quantity and profitability.

She mentioned she had authority to implement New York state legislation “to advertise correct enterprise conduct and be certain that present and future Amazon workers have a secure and sincere office.”

Her lawsuit seeks improved employee protections, and damages for 2 Amazon staff who allegedly confronted retaliation.

One, Christian Smalls, was fired one 12 months in the past, purportedly for violating a paid quarantine when main a protest over circumstances on the Staten Island warehouse.

James sued Amazon on Feb. 16, 4 days after Amazon sued her. Amazon then moved James’ lawsuit to federal courtroom.

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