Online retail and tech colossus Amazon.com (AMZN) - Get Report is allowing its employees who can do their work from home to continue doing so until at least Oct. 2, as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
On March 4, Amazon recommended that its corporate employees work from home. Warehouse and delivery workers, of course, are still reporting to their jobs, and there have been complaints of lax safety conditions.
But as for the stay-at-homes, “employees who work in a role that can effectively be done from home are welcome to do so until at least Oct. 2," the company said in a statement. The policy applies to Amazon staff around the world.
The company said it’s toiling diligently to make its offices safe for those who do return to work.
“We are working hard and investing significant funds to keep those who choose to come to the office safe through physical distancing, deep cleaning, temperature checks, and the availability of face coverings and hand sanitizer,” it said.
Letitia James, attorney general of New York State, last week informed Amazon that it may have broken safety and labor laws when in March it fired Chris Smalls, a warehouse worker leading protests against its safety policies.
"We did not terminate Mr. Smalls’ employment for organizing a 15-person protest," an Amazon spokesperson said.
"We terminated his employment for putting the health and safety of others at risk and for violations of his terms of his employment. Mr. Smalls received multiple warnings for violating social distancing guidelines. He was also found to have had close contact with a diagnosed associate with a confirmed case of COVID-19 and was asked to remain home with pay for 14-days, which is a measure we’re taking at sites around the world. Despite that instruction to stay home with pay, he came onsite further putting the teams at risk."
Amazon shares fell in after-hours trading Thursday after the company reported first-quarter earnings that missed analyst estimates.
The company also said it expected to spend the entirety of its second-quarter operating profit on coronavirus-related expenses.
Amazon shares at last check stood at $2,303.97, down 6.65%. The stock has jumped 23% over the past three months, while the S&P 500 has slid 10%.