(Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc could soon face allegations from a U.S. labor board that it unlawfully fired a vocal union supporter at a New York warehouse amid an organizing drive.
A National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) official in Brooklyn recently found claims involving worker Daequan Smith have merit and plans to file a lawsuit against Amazon unless the company settles the matter, said council spokeswoman Kayla Blado said in an email Friday.
The development was first reported by Bloomberg.
Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A new lawsuit against Amazon would fuel claims by labor organizers and advocacy groups that the company is using illegal tactics to thwart union organizing while placing profits on worker safety.
In November, an NLRB official discovered that Amazon had illegally interfered with a union election at an Alabama factory in which workers overwhelmingly voted against unionization. The results of a second election will be counted at the end of March.
Smith worked at an Amazon warehouse in Staten Island, New York, which is the subject of a more recent campaign petition by a group of employees. A fundraising campaign launched on Smith’s behalf in November says he was left homeless after his layoff.
The NLRB has the power to reinstate workers terminated for participating in union activities and compensate them for lost work, but cannot award other types of damages.
(Reporting by Daniel Wiessner in New York, editing by Alexia Garamfalvi and Bill Berkrot)
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