Amazon Ordered to Cease and Desist Retaliating Against Activists

Amazon.com Inc. must cease and desist from retaliating against employees for workplace activism, a New York federal judge.

Amazon.com Inc. must cease and desist from retaliating against employees for workplace activism, a New York federal judge ordered Friday. 

The ruling requires Amazon to distribute the order to employees at a Staten Island warehouse and to read it to them at a meeting, but US district judge Diane Gujarati denied a request for an injunction to reinstate a fired activist made by the National Labor Relations Board.

The mixed ruling by the Eastern District of New York comes nearly two years after the NLRB hit Amazon with an unfair labor practice complaint for firing Gerald Bryson in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Neither Amazon nor the NLRB responded to a request for comment about the ruling. Bryson’s lawyer did not immediately provide comment.

Gujarati said Amazon did not have to rehire Bryson, but said there was “reasonable cause to believe that an unfair labor practice had been committed” in connection with his termination. 

The NLRB said Bryson became the public face of workplace organizing to improve Covid safety protocols at the company’s Staten Island warehouse. Bryson interrupted a managers meeting in March 2020 to advocate for Covid-19 protections for workers at the facility, and he participated in two demonstrations over pandemic safety before he was suspended, and then terminated, in April 2020, the NLRB said.

The NLRB argued that reinstating Bryson was crucial to show workers that the federal agency can protect their labor law rights.

Amazon has said Bryson was fired for bullying a coworker.

Separately, an NLRB agency judge ruled in April that Amazon must offer to reinstate Bryson. Amazon is appealing that ruling.


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