Amazon sues Washington State over fines and citations

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Amazon has filed a lawsuit against the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries after disagreeing with regulators over citations and fines it received for workplace safety and warehousing policies that violate the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution.

Amazon wants to prevent the Washington Department of Labor and Industries from issuing orders to correct any kind of workplace hazard while the company appeals the citations.

The company claims that the agency has not proven any of its claims, and that the obligation of companies like it to address alleged hazards before doing so violates the 14th Amendment’s due process protections that say no one can be denied due process and that everyone is entitled to equal protection.

Washington’s safety watchdogs inspected an Amazon fulfillment center in Kent codenamed BFI4, citing the company for putting workers in dangerous situations and alleging deliberate violations of safety regulations. Amazon was fined $60,000 and ordered to develop and implement a strategy to improve plant safety to allay officials’ concerns that Amazon employees were under pressure to lift, carry, and twist at a rapid pace, which would inevitably lead to injury.

Amazon also wants Washington to defer any punishment until 2023, citing the possibility of fines of up to $70,000 a day if it loses its appeal.

Amazon is also angry that companies like itself are required to sign an employer’s certificate of protection under the Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act (WISHA), which forces them to admit to safety risks, exposing them to criminal penalties.

Amazon has said the safety of its employees is its top priority and strongly denies the allegations.

The sources for this piece include an article in TheRegister.

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