Amazon to fire employees 'intentionally' violating social distancing after 2 strikes

Fired Amazon worker Chris Smalls says the new policy 'debunks' his termination

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Amazon is instituting a new two-strike rule for firing employees who "intentionally" violate social distancing guidelines at work, Amazon confirmed to FOX Business."

"We’ve had some instances of employees intentionally violating our clear guidelines on social distancing at our sites, which endangers both the individual and their colleagues," an Amazon spokesperson said. "Individuals who intentionally violate our social distancing guidelines will receive two warnings – on the second documented offense, termination may occur."

TO KEEP FACILITIES CORONAVIRUS-FREE, COMPANIES WILL CHECK EMPLOYEE TEMPERATURES

The number of Amazon warehouses where workers had tested positive for coronavirus had risen to 24 as of last week. That includes facilities from California to New York.

Amazon is also performing temperature checks on employees as soon as they arrive at work. Anyone with a slight fever above 100.4 degrees will be sent home, which is a CDC recommendation.

Amazon fulfillment center / Associated Press

Fired Amazon worker Chris Smalls, who has gained media spotlight for staging two walkouts at Amazon's Staten Island, New York, fulfillment center, told FOX Business the new policy "debunks" his termination.

"That furthermore debunks the fact that the policy didn’t exist when they terminated me," Small said. "There was no transparency with the employees, myself included, since I was employed at the time."

An Amazon spokesperson said last week that Smalls was terminated for "violating social distancing guidelines and putting the safety of others at risk," including by coming on site for the first walkout in March. Smalls came in contact with a coworker who tested positive for coronavirus in March and was asked to quarantine at home.

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Smalls said he had much less contact with that coworker than some of his fellow employees and even met with higher-ups at the warehouse about conditions after the contact.

Smalls and his lawyers are working with New York Attorney General Letitia James, who said her office was "considering all legal options" after Smalls' termination.

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"It is disgraceful that Amazon would terminate an employee who bravely stood up to protect himself and his colleagues," James said in a statement. "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."