Thursday, October 6, 2022 | 0
Amazon Inc. on Monday filed a lawsuit against the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, claiming that the state’s workplace safety protocols for citing, issuing fines and reducing risk violate the procedural clause. regularity of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle, stems from a March 2022 inspection of an Amazon facility in Kent, Washington, in which the department alleged there was “several “deliberate” serious violations, not of a specific workplace safety regulation, but of the general duty of all employers to maintain a safe workplace.
The subpoena further alleged that Amazon failed to address various ergonomic hazards despite the lack of specific ergonomic standards in Washington or federal occupational health and safety laws, according to the lawsuit.
Amazon said it has challenged those claims in state administrative proceedings, and that challenge remains pending, with an evidentiary hearing scheduled for early 2023, according to the complaint.
The lawsuit says that under Washington labor law, a company challenging a serious citation must first mitigate the alleged risks, “before the state has made the slightest effort to discharge its legal burden.” to prove that a violation has occurred and before the company has a meaningful opportunity to contest the allegations,” the lawsuit states.
Amazon further argued that “although the state has yet to prove any violations, if the company does not calm down to the state’s satisfaction, it may face fines of up to $7,000 per day, per violation, in which case Amazon could face fines of up to $70,000 per day.
Amazon also says the state can inspect its facilities and cite the company for the same violations at other facilities, and use previously issued but still unproven violations as evidence of “willpower” to justify imposing further penalties. more stringent and additional compliance costs, according to the complaint.
Amazon is seeking an injunction prohibiting the department “from requiring Amazon to implement costly, burdensome and potentially unnecessary reduction measures until the [d]The department bears the burden of proving that Amazon did, in fact, violate any safety or health regulations.
A spokesperson for L&I said the department is aware of the lawsuit and will review the case with the attorney general’s office.
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