Amazon Grows with Covid-19 at the Expense of Laborers
With the pandemic still in full swing and hope on the horizon as more receive the vaccine, the country has undergone many changes. Notably, worker’s comp has been redefined.
In the beginning, worker’s comp aimed to cover catastrophic accidents that occurred on a single date. As time went on, worker’s comp came to include occupational diseases, like a chronic disorder traced back to a workplace associated risk. Next, worker’s comp came to cover injuries that resulted over time. Now, repetitive trauma and continuous trauma claims are on the rise.
Will infectious diseases be the new change?
Amazon’s growth over the last year is staggering. Employees have spoken out on social media to express their concerns over working conditions during the pandemic.
At Gross & Kenny, LLP, our dedicated attorneys are ready to discuss your workplace injury concerns. If you have been injured at work, you need a workers’ compensation attorney in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Call Gross & Kenny, LLP today.
Is Amazon a Waiting Worker’s Comp Disaster?
While most of the country shut down in late March 2020, Amazon saw historical growth. Thousands of new workers were added during the pandemic across the world. With every retailer and salon closed, rows of empty shelves at the grocery store, Amazon filled the void. For those furloughed, Amazon was a shining beacon of opportunity at first.
As busloads of new employees filled Amazon’s floors, so did the ailments. Many new hires had never worked in a labor-intensive field. Employees found they were laying out their backs, pulling muscles, and feeling things snap. Many employees became regulars at AmCare, Amazon’s First Aid center.
Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, many employees felt they were being misinformed, and Amazon failed to protect them adequately from the virus. Workers were being notified weeks after the fact that a fellow employee had tested positive. During mandatory government shutdowns, workers were considered necessary. Employees were given the choice to take two weeks off without pay or continue working. Employees have reported that Amazon didn’t initialize safeguards, standing six feet apart or taking temperatures, until after the pandemic was in full swing. Talks of unionizing started to gain momentum.
- To date, there have been 301 federal investigations since 2012.
- They found 59 workplace violations.
- In the last two reporting years, Amazon facilities had injury rates that were 4 times the national average
- Cal/OSHA is under criticism for not doing more to investigate coronavirus cases in the state of California.
How Covid-19 is Impacting Worker’s Compensation
Today’s worker’s compensation is changing. It isn’t designed to cover a global pandemic. Claims for infectious diseases are changing the basic tenants of worker’s comp., the burden of proof. States move to protect their workers by expanding worker’s comp and are relaxing the laws of the burden of proof.
The burden of proof assigns the employee to show proof of exposure in the workplace and that they are at a higher risk for exposure than the public. Now, employers are responsible for proving that exposure did not happen.
Will this open the door for future infectious diseases to be covered? The Southern Association of Workers’ Compensation Association says yes.
What You Should Do
If you or someone you love has been injured in the workplace, you need a knowledgeable attorney to assess your case and explain your rights. Worker’s compensation is changing drastically by the day. You need a dedicated lawyer to advise you of your rights and protect you and your family. When you need a worker’s compensation attorney in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, you need Gross & Kenny, LLP. Contact us for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or calling 215-512-1500.