Business & Lobbying

Amazon settles with employees who were found to be fired illegally

Amazon has settled with two employees who were found to be illegally fired by the company, The Washington Post reported.

Earlier this year, the National Labor Relations Board found that the two employees — Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa — had been unlawfully let go by the retail chain after they issued criticism about warehouse conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic and the company’s climate policies. 

The announcement came ahead of a National Labor Relations Board hearing scheduled for this week on the matter, which it appears Amazon will now be able to avoid. Had Amazon lost its case in front of the National Labor Relations Board, the two workers could have returned to Amazon and had their wages compensated, the Post noted.

The company has claimed that it did not fire the two employees for their vocal criticism but for violating internal policies.

“We support every employee’s right to criticize their employer’s working conditions, but that does not come with blanket immunity against our internal policies, all of which are lawful,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement in April. “We terminated these employees not for talking publicly about working conditions, safety or sustainability but, rather, for repeatedly violating internal policies.”

Details of the settlement were not immediately clear, though Cunningham and Costa said in a joint statement issued Wednesday that they would be paid.

“We are thrilled to announce that we have reached an agreement to settle the charge against Amazon at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) alleging that the company illegally fired us for speaking up about warehouse workers’ conditions during COVID,” the two said together.

“This is a win for protecting workers rights, and shows that we were right to stand up for each other, for justice, and for our world. Amazon will be required to pay us our lost wages and post a notice to all of its tech and warehouse workers nationwide that Amazon can’t fire workers for organizing and exercising their rights,” they continued.

A spokesperson for Amazon told The Hill in a statement, “We have reached a mutual agreement that resolves the legal issues in this case and welcome the resolution of this matter.”

Tags Amazon COVID-19 National Labor Relations Board
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