- Amazon is starting to screen some warehouse employees for COVID-19 symptoms when they come into work, CNBC reported Thursday.
- The company told employees in at least two states, Michigan and Virginia, that it would be “introducing a symptom screen” and sending people home who show signs of the coronavirus, according to CNBC.
- Separately, Amazon said in May that it was launching a pilot program to test employees for COVID-19 as it ramps up safety measures in its warehouses.
- Still, employees continue to speak out about working conditions during the pandemic and accuse the company of failing to take adequate steps to protect them.
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Some Amazon employees will soon undergo additional COVID-19 symptom screening before starting work, CNBC reported Thursday.
“Beginning this week we’re introducing a symptom screen at our entrances in accordance with guidance from local authorities,” Amazon told workers in at least Michigan and Virginia, according to CNBC. “Moving forward, when you arrive for your shift you will read signs listing potential Covid-19 symptoms as you enter the building.”
Employees who don’t report symptoms during the screening will complete a temperature check and clock-in for their shift, while those who do could be sent home and instructed to get a COVID-19 test, CNBC reported.
It’s unclear how widely the new screening process is being rolled out or whether employees will be paid for additional time spent waiting (the US Supreme Court ruled in 2014 that Amazon is not required to pay workers for waiting in security lines).
Separately, Amazon said in May that it is developing its own in-house coronavirus testing program, but would only say at the time that it has “started our first small-scale pilot.”
The company has been forced to drastically ramp up health and safety measures in its warehouses, where employees have been working throughout the pandemic. However, workers are continuing to speak out about working conditions and have accused Amazon of not taking sufficient precautions to reduce their risk of exposure to the virus.
They have also criticised Amazon for not being transparent about outbreaks, which have been confirmed in dozens of warehouses. A crowdsourced document compiled by workers claims that there could be as many as 1,500 cases. Amazon has repeatedly refused to release case numbers.
“The actual…total number of cases isn’t particularly useful because it’s relative to the size of the building and then the overall community infection rate,” Amazon logistics chief Dave Clark told CBS News in May. However, Bloomberg reported last month that case rates at a Minnesota warehouse were at least four times the rates of surrounding communities.
Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment on this story.
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