Amazon has reinstated “oppressive and dangerous” productivity quotas in the run up to Prime Day exposing employees to greater risk of catching COVID-19.
According to Bloomberg, plaintiffs in an ongoing court case against the retail giant have accused it of not being “honest and forthcoming” with the court after assuring that it had scrapped warehouse productivity quotas during the COVID-19 crisis.
In July, Amazon told the court that it would stop disciplining workers for falling short on quotas for how many tasks they completed each hour at its Staten Island facility.
It also said it would no longer penalise workers for time spent on safety measures like washing their hands under its “Time Off Task” policy, which tracks and restricts the number of unproductive minutes workers have each day.
According to the plaintiffs both practices violate public nuisance laws and raise COVID-19 hazards at the facility.
However, in a new filing the plaintiffs have accused Amazon of reinstating these measures in the run up to its busy Prime Day event, which took place this week.
Amazon has reportedly warned workers at the facility that slowness could get them fired and that “productivity feedback” was being restored.
In response Amazon said it had “reinstated a portion of our process where a fraction of employees, less than five per cent on average, may receive coaching for improvement as a result of extreme outliers in performance.
“All of our measures continue to provide additional time for associates to practice social distancing, wash their hands and clean their work stations whenever needed.”
Earlier this month Amazon was accused of being a threat to public health after it reported that over 19,000 employees had contracted COVID-19.
Despite tens of thousands of employees having contracted the virus, Amazon says that its own analysis suggested the infection rate was 42 per cent lower than expected based on infection rates across the US.
According to Amazon, 33,952 of its total 1.37 million workers would have contracted the virus if infection rates matched the US average, instead of its 19,816 it recorded between March 1 and September 19.