• A judge ruled in favor of an Amazon worker fired over an incident that occurred during a protest.
  • Amazon fired Staten Island warehouse worker Gerald Bryson for arguing with a coworker in 2020.
  • Now a judge has ruled that Amazon must rehire and compensate Bryson.

A judge ruled Monday that Amazon "unlawfully" fired a worker for a verbal altercation during a 2020 protest at the the company's Staten Island warehouse.

The New York Times reported that both the National Labor Relations Board and Judge Benjamin W. Green agree that Amazon must rehire a worker named Gerald Bryson. Bryson was terminated for using "abusive, vulgar, or harassing language" at a protest on April 6, 2020, after he and a pro-Amazon worker quarreled. The pro-Amazon worker was not fired, despite using language that the judge said could be considered "racial."

The employees were protesting working conditions that some believed to be unsafe. 

The latest ruling comes in the wake of a historic moment for workers at the online delivery giant. Amazon employees at the Staten Island warehouse voted to unionize earlier this month. The Amazon Labor Union won despite Amazon's anti-union stance, which goes back decades.  The online giant has contested the union's win, arguing that organizers bribed voters with weed. Amazon did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

Judge Green also ruled that Amazon will need to compensate Bryson for lost wages. Green made his ruling after finding that a video of the incident didn't back up Amazon's recounting of Bryson's actions, and wrote that the company had given milder punishments to employees found to have engaged in more serious altercations.

In March, the NLRB sued Amazon in response to Bryson's firing. This isn't the first spat involving Amazon, the new Staten Island union, and the NLRB. In January, the NLRB found that Amazon broke the law "by threatening, surveilling, and interrogating their Staten Island warehouse workers who are engaged in a union organizing campaign."

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