May 10, 2022 - Economy

Court tosses New York's Amazon lawsuit over worker protections

People congregate outside of the LDJ5 Amazon Sort Center on April 25, 2022 in New York City.

People congregate outside of the LDJ5 Amazon Sort Center on April 25 in New York City. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

A New York appeals court on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James alleging Amazon failed to adequately protect its workers during the pandemic.

Driving the news: The National Labor Relations Board, "and not the states, should serve as the forum for disputes arising out of the conduct" if it violates federal rules, the New York appellate court wrote in its filing.

  • The court also said the lawsuit "must be dismissed as moot, as the state has withdrawn the public health guidance that the claim seeks to enforce."

What they're saying: "Throughout the pandemic, Amazon has failed to provide a safe working environment for New Yorkers, putting their health and safety at risk," James' deputy press secretary Morgan Rubin said in a statement.

  • "As our office reviews the decision and our options moving forward, Attorney General James remains committed to protecting Amazon workers, and all workers, from unfair treatment," Rubin said.
  • Amazon did not immediately respond to Axios' requests for comment.

Catch up quick: James in the lawsuit filed in February of 2021 claimed that Amazon failed to comply with workplace rules during COVID-19.

  • The lawsuit also argued that Amazon illegally retaliated against employees who expressed concerns over workplace conditions, citing the firing of Chris Smalls, who now heads the Amazon Labor Union.
  • Amazon filed a lawsuit against James, in an attempt to block her from suing, alleging that worker safety claims are a federal matter.
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