In France, Amazon loses court appeal and must stop selling nonessential items to protect workers

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Amazon has lost its appeal against a court ruling that prompted it to suspend deliveries in France last week.

A court in Paris on Friday upheld a ruling that Amazon must stop selling nonessential goods as it carries out a risk assessment on how best to protect employees from coronavirusin its distribution centers.

In a statement, Amazon said it was assessing the court’s decision but had no comment on whether it would reopen its warehouses.

The company shut down its French distribution centers in the wake of the original ruling, citing the stiff penalties threatened by the court and the “complexity inherent in our logistic activities.” Amazon’s top executive in France said that it wasn’t clear which products were considered essential.

Amazon said at the time that it was suspending activities “despite the huge investment that we have made to ensure and strengthen by additional measures the safety of our employees who remained mobilized during this crisis.”

The initial ruling followed a complaint by a French labor union, which accused the online delivery giant of endangering the lives of workers by not instituting enough safety precautions to protect against the virus.

Under the terms of the order, Amazon would be limited to selling goods classified as electronics, office equipment, animal care products, home improvement items, health and body care products, and groceries.

Each shipment of anunauthorized product could incur a penalty of up to €100,000 ($108,000), the court ruled.

Amazon has faced criticism in the United States over the health and safety of workers as it faces increasing demands on its services during the pandemic. Last week, the company said it may begin firing employees who “intentionally violate” its social distancing guidelines, despite complaints from workers who say the demands of their job make it impossible to comply with the policy.

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