A contract delivery driver for e-commerce giant Amazon is claiming that he was fired by the company’s delivery company for voicing his concerns about the coronavirus safety measures taken by the firm.
Motherboard reports that a contract delivery driver at an Amazon facility in Indiana claims that he was fired by Amazon delivery partner FAE Distributors for voicing his concerns about the safety measures taken by Amazon to combat the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus.
FAE Distributors, an independent firm contracted by Amazon to deliver packages as a “Delivery Service Partner” operates at an Amazon warehouse in Gary, Indiana, where the firm hires and trains workers to deliver packages. In April, employee Andre Kirk asked in a group messaging channel for the workforce if anyone at the facility had tested positive for the coronavirus.
Demoine Harvey, the owner of FAE Distributors, told the group that no employees had tested positive before privately messaging Kirk and reprimanding him, reportedly stating that the subject of testing was not a group concern but “the entire world concern” and that Kirk should direct any questions he has directly to him.
Kirk then shared these messages with the group chat, which has since been deleted. A company administrative coordinators, and wife of the owner, sent a text to employees later that day stating: “During a pandemic the group chat can not be used to cause discord or further invoke panic and fear … the integrity and culture of FAE is and has always been aimed at being positive, supportive, and encouraging. There is no room for negativity especially now. We have to stand together or we fall apart.”
Two days later, Kirk was fired. Harvey told Motherboard in an emailed statement: “FAE Distributors was launched in July 2019, and is proud to have provided over 200 jobs for Indiana residents. Like all companies, we have standards that we expect our team to adhere to, and have zero tolerance for ongoing misconduct or any actions that endanger the safety of our team or community.” Harvey added, “Incidents of repeated misconduct and/or violations of company policies are the reason Mr Kirk’s employment was ended, nothing else.”
Kirk was described as an employee with a history of problematic actions who had been reprimanded repeatedly, Kirk denies this. Kirk claims he was fired for “bogus reasons” and that it wasn’t until he questioned whether his colleagues had been exposed to the virus that he was reprimanded. Kirk claims that he asked his coworkers about positive tests as one worker had already tested positive and as someone with a pre-existing health condition, Kirk was worried for his health.
FAE claims that there was no medical documentation that confirmed a positive test at the time of Kirk’s firing but the day after Kirk was fired, employees were informed that a colleague had tested positive for the virus.
Discussing the company’s efforts to maintain healthy working conditions for employees during the pandemic, Timothy Carter, a spokesman for Amazon, said: “Our top concern is ensuring the health and safety of our employees, and we expect to invest approximately $4bn from April to June on Covid-related initiatives to get products to customers and keep employees safe.”
He adds: “This includes spending more than $800m in the first half of the year on Covid-19 safety measures, with investments in personal protective equipment, enhanced cleaning of our facilities, less efficient process paths that better allow for effective social distancing, higher wages for hourly teams, and developing our own COVID-19 testing capabilities.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address firstname.lastname@example.org