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Amazon Will Pay a $1.9 Million Settlement After Human Rights Abuse Accusations

Amazon already has an established reputation for not treating its workers fairly, and that has been substantiated yet again by the complaints of contract workers claiming that the conditions they were in violated their human rights.

February 26, 2024

Credits @FFHR.CZ

Amazon's $1.9 Million Settlement

Over 700 workers will benefit from the settlement cost that the retail giant will have to pay in response to claims of exploitative labor contracts and human rights abuses. The workers claim that they lived in conditions that did not even have the basic facilities a person requires.

The workers, who are based in Saudi Arabia, had to live in a crowded room with seven other people. They were "jammed with bunk beds infested with bed bugs," and the water was too salty to be potable, as reported by Engadget.

To make matters worse, other reports say that the workers had to pay recruitment fees of up to $2,040 just to gain employment, which was illegal. As a result, some of the migrant workers from Nepal had to take out loans to pay for the fee.

There has already been a precious Amnesty International report last year stating alleged human rights abuses, with claims that the laborers were "highly likely to be victims of human trafficking," and that Amazon was not able to take action to prevent such things from happening.

While the settlement fee seems like a huge amount, it will be distributed to more than 700 workers, which means that each could would only be given about $2,700 per employee. That's a small amount compared to the earnings of the retail giant in 2023 alone.

Amazon took notice of the issue and even gave a statement. In a blog post, the company said that a third-party labor rights expert has already been hired to investigate the claims. It was found that Amazon violated several supply chain standards.

The company has also "remediated the most serious concerns," according to them, which helps with the affected Saudi warehouses. This includes providing proper living accommodations as well as safe and healthy working conditions.

Workers Exposed to 'Ergonomic Hazards'

Just this January, Amazon was also cited by the Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration as workers from three warehouses were exposed to safety hazards, the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York claims.

Due to the poor working conditions, the employees were said to be put at high risk for lower back injuries and musculoskeletal disorders, as per CNBC. The affected warehouses were ones in New York, Illinois, and Florida.

OSHA Assistant Secretary Douglas Parker said that in the inspections, it was found that the work process was designed for speed and not safety, and it has already resulted in serious work injuries among the labor workers.

"While Amazon has developed impressive systems to make sure its customers' orders are shipped efficiently and quickly, the company has failed to show the same level of commitment to protecting the safety and well-being of its workers."


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