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Amazon Loses Appeal in France Worker-Protection Case

Amazon appealed and lost in a worker-protection court case that closed six fulfillment centers in France last week.

A Versailles court ruled against Amazon's appeal of a case that caused the online-retail and tech giant to shutter six fulfillment centers in France. 

Judges upheld a lower-court decision that ordered Amazon to stop shipping nonessential items in order to protect workers. 

Amazon was facing a fine of 1 million euros ($1.1 million) a day if it did not stop shipping the nonessential items. Instead, Amazon decided to shut down operations completely until it could file an appeal. 

Essential items include IT equipment, health items, groceries and pet food.

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"We have to temporarily suspend operations in our fulfillment centers in France," Amazon said following the lower-court ruling last week.

"This is in spite of the huge investment we made in additional safety measures to keep our hard-working, dedicated colleagues safe, while ensuring they had continued employment at this difficult time," 

Amazon could not immediately be reached for comment.

French labor unions earlier this month requested an urgent ruling from the lower court after they claimed that the Seattle company was not doing enough to protect employees' health. 

That petition led to the ruling limiting Amazon's shipping, which led to the appeal that the company lost on Friday. 

Amazon also has had labor issues back home. In March it fired a worker at its fulfillment center in Staten Island, New York, after that worker led a strike over safety conditions during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Amazon said the staffer had refused its order that he isolate himself because he'd come in contact with an infected employee. New York State Attorney General Letitia James said then that her office was looking into the matter.

Despite these issues, Amazon is an analyst darling ahead of its earnings report on April 30. Analysts are expecting the company to report revenue of $72.95 billion. 

Amazon shares were basically flat in trading Friday.