New York Attorney General Letitia James tonight released the following statement in response to news that Amazon employee Chris Smalls was terminated today after he organized a walkout to protest health conditions at his workplace, amidst the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak:
“It is disgraceful that Amazon would terminate an employee who bravely stood up to protect himself and his colleagues. At the height of a global pandemic, Chris Smalls and his colleagues publicly protested the lack of precautions that Amazon was taking to protect them from COVID-19. Today, Chris Smalls was fired. In New York, the right to organize is codified into law, and any retaliatory action by management related thereto is strictly prohibited. At a time when so many New Yorkers are struggling and are deeply concerned about their safety, this action was also immoral and inhumane. The Office of the Attorney General is considering all legal options, and I am calling on the National Labor Relations Board to investigate this incident.”
Employees that believe their employers are in violation of either existing labor laws or recently issued New York State executive orders should contact the Office of the Attorney General by emailing Labor.Bureau@ag.ny.gov or calling 212-416-8700 to file a complaint.