Special Feature
Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: Coronavirus: Business and technology in a pandemic

Amazon workers say they've been hassled to meet Prime Day quotas, says Bloomberg

Employees of a Staten Island, New York fulfillment center for Amazon say the company hounded them for greater productivity on Prime Day in violation of a pledge to a New York judge to ease off on workers.

Workers at an Amazon fulfillment center in Staten Island, New York, who are suing the e-commerce giant for workplace violations, say the company has broken a promise to the judge overseeing the suit to not harass workers to get more productivity out of them, according to a report this evening by Bloomberg's Josh Eidelson and Spencer Soper.

Plaintiffs in the suit, filed in New York in June, which alleges Amazon violated employee safety laws, on Wednesday filed a complaint with the court claiming Amazon "has recklessly reinstated dangerous warehouse productivity quotas," Eidelson and Soper report. 

The authors note that today's complaint accuses Amazon of going back on a pledge made to the court in July not to discipline workers for productivity lapses. 

The complaint alleges extra pressure around Prime Day, Amazon's annual shopping holiday that took place yesterday and today.

"The plaintiffs allege that in the lead-up to 'Prime Day,' Amazon's self-created, labor-intensive annual promotional holiday that started Tuesday and ends Wednesday, the company has once again been hassling employees about productivity, and warning them that slowness could get them terminated," the article relates. 

"One Staten Island employee got 'verbal coaching' from a manager for falling short, and management notified staff on a white board that 'productivity feedback' was being restored, according to one worker's account included in the filing."

In the original suit, the workers claim that Amazon's pressure to deliver productivity has increased the risk to the workers of catching COVID-19 because the pressure prevents them from taking adequate safety precautions. 

As the Bloomberg authors related in June, the suit specifically alleges a plaintiff at the facility "contracted the virus in March at Amazon's Staten Island distribution center, where employees 'were explicitly or implicitly encouraged to continue attending work and prevented from adequately washing their hands or sanitizing their workstations.'