The world’s most valuable retail company may be short-changing numerous injured workers of workers’ compensation benefits, including coverage of medical expenses and wage losses, according to a recent investigative news report on Amazon warehouses. The Guardian reports that workplace accidents have left many of the workers “homeless, unable to work or bereft of income.”
The report comes out just as Amazon begins hiring for its new “fulfillment centers” in Oklahoma. The company plans to hire 1,750 people for the center in Oklahoma City, according to The Tulsa World. In a press release, Amazon said it will employ another 1,500 workers for its Tulsa hub.
Amazon’s Mistreatment of Injured Warehouse Workers
One Amazon warehouse worker in Texas told The Guardian that she became homeless after a workplace accident left her unable to do her job. The woman injured her back while counting goods at a workstation that lacked a piece of safety equipment that prevents products from falling to the floor. She used a tote bin to try to compensate for the missing piece and hurt her back while counting in an awkward position.
The worker described a months-long ordeal of fighting for workers’ compensation benefits. After she returned to work, she re-injured herself. The company eventually offered her eight days’ pay plus a $3,500 buyout – but only if she signed “a non-disclosure agreement to not say anything derogatory about Amazon or [her] experience.” She refused to sign and accept the offer.
Her case is one of “numerous reports from Amazon workers of being improperly treated after an avoidable work injury,” The Guardian reports in an article which describes five more workers who sought workers’ compensation medical and lost-wage benefits after a workplace injury but encountered only frustration instead.
Worker Deaths in Amazon Warehouses
The Guardian report also points out that Amazon’s warehouses were listed on the 2018 National Council for Occupational Safety and Health‘s “dirty dozen” list of most dangerous places to work in the U.S. According to NCOSH, “seven workers [were] killed at Amazon warehouses since 2013 – including three workers within five weeks at three separate locations in 2017.”
Business Insider investigated those cases and found that “two were crushed by forklifts in the warehouses, one was run over by a truck, one was killed by an SUV driver, one suffered a fatal heart-related event during an overnight shift, one was dragged and crushed by a conveyor belt, and one was killed and crushed by a pallet loader.”
Still, an Amazon spokesperson told The Guardian that ensuring the safety of its employees is the company’s “number one priority.” The spokesperson cited the firm’s Safety Leadership Program as an example of being proactive about safety.
We Can Help You Fight for Workers’ Compensation
Despite Amazon’s claim that it emphasizes safety, the above news reports clearly show that serious accidents happen at its warehouses and cause injuries that can have a devastating effect on workers’ lives. The struggles that those workers have faced while pursuing workers’ compensation benefits underscores the importance of getting help from an experienced workers’ compensation attorney after an on-the-job accident – no matter where you work.
If you suffered an injury on the job in Oklahoma, you can count on Cain Law Office to protect your rights, fight for the benefits you deserve and aggressively pursue the maximum amount for you. Contact us today and learn more about how we can help you in a free consultation.