An Amazon employee in New York said he was fired on Monday after he staged a protest, demanding that the company implement safety precautions amid the coronavirus pandemic, CNBC reports.

Chris Smalls, a management assistant at JFK8, a Staten Island Amazon facility, said he was fired for leading a protest with about 50 co-workers. Smalls said the company has refused to "face up to its total failure" in protecting employees against the novel virus despite a warehouse worker testing positive for COVID-19.

“I am outraged and disappointed, but I’m not shocked. As usual, Amazon would rather sweep a problem under the rug than act to keep workers and working communities safe,” Smalls said.

"It's a shame on them," he told Vice News. "To fire someone after five years for sticking up for people and trying to give them a voice."

Despite Smalls' claims, a spokesperson for Amazon told CNBC that he was fired for refusing to respect social distancing practices and stay home with pay after coming into contact with another employee who tested positive. The spokesperson said Smalls received "multiple warnings" before ultimately being terminated.

“Despite that instruction to stay home with pay, he came onsite today, March 30, further putting the teams at risk,” the spokesperson said. “This is unacceptable and we have terminated his employment as a result of these multiple safety issues.”

The company continued to refute Smalls' claim, saying it has enforced "extreme measures" for its employees' safety and health.

“Like all businesses grappling with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we are working hard to keep employees safe while serving communities and the most vulnerable,” the company said in a statement.

Although Amazon has denounced any wrongdoing in laying off Smalls, New York Attorney General Letitia James said his firing is "disgraceful" and is working to investigate the incident.

“At the height of a global pandemic, Chris Smalls and his colleagues publicly protested the lack of precautions that Amazon was taking to protect them from COVID-19. Today, Chris Smalls was fired,” James said in a statement.

“In New York, the right to organize is codified into law, and any retaliatory action by management related thereto is strictly prohibited. At a time when so many New Yorkers are struggling and are deeply concerned about their safety, this action was also immoral and inhumane,” James added.

According to CNBC, workers have said that there is a lack of hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes within the warehouses. Employees also said they are forced to choose between their health and their livelihood.

The company confirmed that two employees had tested positive at the Staten Island facility and were in quarantine, however, in a video clip posted to Twitter, a worker at JFK8 said the company lied about the number of confirmed cases.

"I walked out because @Amazon lied, they told me there was one case in the building and there is actually eleven, so I don't feel safe," she said.

During the protest, employees demanded Amazon temporarily shut down JFK8 to conduct a thorough cleaning after reports of employees testing positive. They also requested hazard pay and additional protective gear, The Guardian reports.