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Amazon illegally fired two employees, labor board finds

April 5, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 48.1%. 2 min read.

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - MARCH 10: The Amazon headquarters sits virtually empty on March 10, 2020 in downtown Seattle, Washington. In response to the coronavirus outbreak, Amazon recommended all employees in its Seattle headquarters to work from home, leaving much of downtown nearly void of people. The Amazon Spheres conservatory, (R) serves as an employee lounge and workspace. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Amazon illegally fired last year two of its corporate employees who had been vocal critics of the company, the National Labor Relations Board has found.

(CNN)Amazon illegally fired last year two of its corporate employees who had been vocal critics of the company, the National Labor Relations Board has found.

The employees, Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa, organized workers around climate action and warehouse conditions during the pandemic before their firings in April 2020.

Amazon spokesperson Jaci Anderson told The Times that it "terminated these employees not for talking publicly about working conditions, safety or sustainability but, rather, for repeatedly violating internal policies. "

"We support every employee's right to criticize their employer's working conditions, but that does not come with blanket immunity against our internal policies, all of which are lawful," Anderson said.

The news comes at a time when the company has been openly antagonistic towards critics of its workplace conditions, specifically the work conditions of its warehouse employees.

Cunningham and Costa, both user experience designers, are founding members of Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, a group of corporate employees that originally formed to advocate on climate issues.

Cunningham and Costa's claim is the latest Amazon worker retaliation that the federal agency has found merit in.

In November, the NLRB issued a complaint against Amazon for the illegal termination of a Pennsylvania warehouse worker.

While the pandemic has been a boon for Amazon's business, safety precautions related to the virus, as well as general workplace conditions, have also been a factor behind a more general employee uprising at its facilities.

At the time, Cunningham and Costa's firing led to the resignation of Amazon engineer and vice president Tim Bray.

In a lengthy blog post about his departure, Bray said he "quit in dismay at Amazon firing whistleblowers who were making noise about warehouse employees frightened of Covid-19. "

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