Amazon (AMZN) - Get Report has sued New York state Attorney General Letitia James, claiming her office overstepped its authority in seeking to penalize the company for what it viewed as pandemic safety protocol failures.
Amazon filed the complaint in Brooklyn federal court Friday in response to the attorney general's threat to sue the company if it doesn't comply with a list of demands, including subsidizing public bus service and reducing production targets required for workers at its warehouses in the state.
“Amazon has been intensely focused on COVID-19 safety and has taken extraordinary, industry-leading measures grounded in science, above and beyond government guidance and requirements, to protect its associates from COVID-19,” the company said in its complaint, according to Bloomberg.
However, New York's attorney general stated that Amazon was trying to shift the conversation away from its failings.
"Throughout this pandemic, Amazon employees have been forced to work in unsafe conditions, all while the company and its CEO made billions off of their backs. This action by Amazon is nothing more than a sad attempt to distract from the facts and shirk accountability for its failures to protect hardworking employees from a deadly virus," James said in a statement responding to the lawsuit.
Amazon's lawsuit seeks a court order that would prevent the New York attorney general from seeking to regulate Amazon's operations in response to COVID-19, as well as claims of retaliation by workers who protest those working conditions.
Amazon argued those regulations are lawfully undertaken by the federal government, not states.
Amazon shares were little changed, down 0.2% to $3,253.34 in trading Friday.