Tesla and Amazon under fire as employees contract COVID-19

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Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk. Source: AP/Robyn Beck.

After Elon Musk branded COVID-19 lockdown laws as ‘fascist’ and reopened his California Tesla factory early, an employee at the company’s New York operation has reportedly tested positive for the virus.

According to a report from Verge, the employee is the first to test positive for the virus in Tesla’s factories since they re-opened last month.

The opening of Tesla’s California factory caused something of a hoo-ha, as Musk railed against the rules of Alameda County.

The eccentric billionaire claimed he would be “on the line with everyone else”, and called on law enforcement to punish only himself for the breach, not his staff.

Musk argued that the State of California approved the factory to reopen, but the county overrode the decision.

“Only Tesla has been singled out,” he said in a tweet.

“This is super messed up.”

Previously, he had branded stay-at-home orders ‘fascist’.

This is not democratic. This is not freedom. Give people back their goddamn freedom,” he reportedly ranted.

While some supporters praised the founder for ‘fighting back’, the decision to re-open the factory early also drew plenty of criticism, with others calling him “another selfish billionaire”, and expressing concern for Tesla workers.

Now, it appears those concerns were warranted, albeit for employees on the other side of the country.

Elsewhere, three Amazon employees are reportedly suing the e-commerce giant, claiming lax safety procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic caused them to catch the virus.

One employee at the Staten Island facility died last month, while another who contracted the virus says it contributed to the death of a family member.

The lawsuit alleges employees “were explicitly or implicitly encouraged to continue attending work and prevented from adequately washing their hands or sanitizing their workstations,” Business Insider reports.

It also alleges “oppressive and dangerous” working conditions, including hourly quotas, punishing people who complained and encouraging employees not to tell others if they became ill.

The employees are reportedly not seeking financial compensation. Rather, they want a court injunction forcing Amazon to adhere to health guidelines.

Amazon claims it has always followed public health advice and complies with federal and state laws.

NOW READ: Amazon launches 65-hour Prime Day, despite protests over warehouse conditions

NOW READ: “There’s too much blind faith”: Is it time to stop idolising entrepreneurs like Elon Musk?

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