De Blasio calls for investigation into firing of Amazon strike organizer
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) called Tuesday for an investigation into the dismissal of an Amazon worker who was fired after organizing a walkout from a Staten Island warehouse.
“The allegation is because he spoke up for the safety of his fellow workers, he was fired. I have ordered the city’s Commission on Human Rights to investigate Amazon immediately to determine if that’s true,” de Blasio said in a Tuesday press conference. “If so, that would be a violation of our city human rights law, and we would act on it immediately.”
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio says city will investigate former Amazon worker’s allegation he was fired for organizing protest over fears of a coronavirus outbreak at a fulfillment center: “If so, that’d be a violation of our city human rights law.” https://t.co/qHhDGYpm7e pic.twitter.com/rLrYSvsPWh
— ABC News (@ABC) March 31, 2020
Chris Smalls was fired Monday after leading the protest in response to the company keeping the facility open after a worker tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Amazon has said Smalls was fired for coming on-site after being told to stay home due to potential contact with a person who had tested positive.
Smalls has denied statements by Amazon that he was fired after repeated warnings to adhere to social distancing claims.
“You’re supposed to get a verbal warning, you’re supposed to get documentation and then it goes to a write up, and then it goes to a termination. So how do you skip all three processes and go right for a termination?” he said to ABC News. “I’ve been there five years. I know how it goes. So for them to even say that is just ridiculous.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) has also called for an investigation into Smalls’s firing, saying Tuesday, “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,” James added in a statement.