Online retailer Amazon alleged in a lawsuit filed Friday that the New York state attorney general Letitia James had threatened to sue the company if Amazon refused to comply with her demands. According to Amazon, James does not have the authority to interfere with or pass judgement on the company's coronavirus workplace safety protocols, which the company maintains went "above and beyond" the requirements.
Another point of contention is the firing of Christian Smalls, a former Amazon employee who led a walkout at Amazon's Staten Island warehouse while he was still employed by that company. Amazon claims he was subsequently fired for violating social distancing guidelines, while Smalls claims he was fired in retaliation for his criticism of the company's coronavirus safety measures. Amazon alleges that the attorney general's list of demands included rehiring Smalls and paying him a large sum.
Amazon is asking the Brooklyn federal court to stop Letitia James from suing the company and to rule that she lacks legal standing to interfere in either of these matters.
The company argued in court documents that only the federal government can mandate COVID-19 safety protocols and that the attorney general’s office doesn’t have the legal authority “it purports to wield against Amazon.”