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Workers at an Amazon fulfillment center in the U.K. sit behind partition screens in a break room in October. Photo by Bloomberg
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Amazon Policy COVID-19

Amazon Drops Pandemic Test to Track Warehouse Workers Through Wi-Fi

Photo: Workers at an Amazon fulfillment center in the U.K. sit behind partition screens in a break room in October. Photo by Bloomberg

Amazon has promised to spend billions of dollars this year on safety precautions to protect the workers in its warehouse facilities from the coronavirus pandemic. But it has quietly abandoned a test of one such safety measure that involved tracking the location of warehouse workers through their personal cell phones, The Information has learned.

Starting around late July, Amazon at four of its warehouses began testing a new health and safety plan through which it asked workers to provide their badge or employee ID numbers in order to access the free company Wi-Fi network from their personal devices. The purpose of the plan was to give the company a way to track employees’ locations inside warehouses so that it could develop better social distancing and cleanliness plans, Amazon told workers in an internal message seen by The Information. But the plan, had it continued, would also likely have raised privacy concerns for a company that has been under the microscope regarding its warehouse workplace conditions.

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