Judge rules Amazon must reinstate fired warehouse worker
A judge has ruled Amazon must reinstate a former warehouse employee who was fired in the early days of the pandemic, saying the company “unlawfully” terminated the worker who led a protest calling for Amazon to do more to protect employees against COVID-19.
The dispute involving Gerald Bryson, who worked at an Amazon warehouse in the New York City borough of Staten Island, has stretched on since June 2020, when Bryson filed an unfair labor practice complaint with The National Labor Relations Board, claiming Amazon retaliated against him.
Later that year, the NLRB said it found merit in Bryson’s complaint that Amazon illegally fired him for workplace organizing.
Amazon did not accept the findings, and the federal board filed a formal complaint against the company, triggering a lengthy administrative court process.
On April 18, administrative law judge Benjamin Green said Amazon must offer Bryson his job back, as well as lost wages and benefits resulting from his “discriminatory discharge.”
Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel said in a statement that the company will appeal the ruling.
Bryson first participated in a March 2020 protest over working conditions led by Chris Smalls, another warehouse employee who was fired by the online retail giant and is heading up the Amazon Labor Union, the nascent group which won a union election earlier this month at the Amazon facility where both men worked.
After Smalls was fired, Bryson led another protest in April 2020 in front of the warehouse.