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Judge says Amazon must rehire employee fired for protesting working conditions

A judge has ordered Amazon to reinstate a worker who was fired in 2020 for protesting working conditions and lack of COVID-19 safety measures at the onset of the pandemic.

Gerald Bryson worked at an Amazon warehouse in Staten Island, New York in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Bryson was part of an organized protest outside the warehouse during his off-hours that was meant to draw attention to Amazon’s failure to keep its workers safe from the virus. While Bryson was engaged in the protest, he became involved in a verbal altercation with a female colleague.

Bryson was fired days later for allegedly violating the company’s vulgar language policy. Recordings of the altercation detailed by the National Labor Relations Board, who is representing Bryson show both employees used profanity during the dispute. The woman was only given a “first warning.”

When Bryson first complained to the NLRB about his unfair firing, the organization attempted to rectify the situation with Amazon, but Amazon denied an improper firing, leading to a formal complaint being filed by NLRB.

The litigation was a lengthy process resulting in administrative law judge Benjamin Greene ruling on Monday that Amazon must reinstate Bryson’s employment and provide him with repayment for lost wages and benefits that resulted from his termination.

Amazon has said it will appeal the ruling. “We strongly disagree with this ruling and are surprised the NLRB would want any employer to condone Mr. Bryson’s behavior,” said Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel. “Mr. Bryson was fired for bullying, cursing at and defaming a female co-worker over a bullhorn in front of the workplace. We do not tolerate that type of conduct in our workplace and intend to file an appeal with the NLRB.”

ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: NEW YORK TIMES

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Laura is a freelance writer out of Maryland and a mom of three. Her background is in political science and international relations, and she has been doing political writing and editing for 17 years. Laura has also written parenting pieces for the Today Show and is currently working on writing a collection of remarkable true stories about normal people. She writes for FBA because unbiased news is vital to unity, and readers deserve the facts free of opinion.

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