Online retailer Amazon has been harshly criticized in recent years for providing its warehouse workers in Georgia and around the country with unsafe conditions. The Seattle-based company has repeatedly denied allegations that it concealed workplace injuries and manipulated warehouse accident reports, but a recent media investigation claims that the organization either refused to share injury logs with its employees or provided them with redacted records on at least a dozen occasions.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has rules requiring employers to provide workers with complete safety records and prohibits them from placing restrictions on how the records are shared. The media investigation contains interviews with Amazon workers who say they were only given records covering the hours they actually worked and were told that the documents had to be kept confidential. One worker says that they feared being sued or terminated if they shared the information.
The investigation also accuses Amazon of using its economic might to influence officials and shut down investigations into workplace accidents. Three former Amazon safety managers told reporters that the company systematically conceals worker injuries, and an OSHA investigator said in an interview that he resigned from the agency shortly after the Indiana Governor and Labor Commissioner pressured him to end an investigation into the death of an Amazon worker. The investigator claims that he was told to back off to improve Indiana’s chances of being chosen as the site for Amazon’s second headquarters.
Attorneys with experience in workplace accident cases may advocate on behalf of individuals who have been injured while on the job in workers’ compensation hearings, and they might also suggest pursuing personal injury lawsuits when their employers may have acted with gross negligence. This is behavior so reckless that death or serious injury became an inevitable outcome. When gross negligence can be established, juries may award punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages.