Costco employees lose job over alleged theft

WASHINGTON—Employees at Costco stores have been told to stop calling the company and its parent company Amazon.com Inc. “We have been instructed to not contact Costco, Amazon, or anyone associated with Amazon,” the company’s website said Monday.

“It is no longer necessary for us to communicate with anyone regarding these matters.”

Costco has denied the claims.

The company has said it has removed the site, but that the new rule is not effective until the company fully implements it.

“The Amazon store has been a huge hit for us.

Our stores have received a lot of feedback about the Amazon store and we appreciate the opportunity to work with the community and make sure the customer experience is the best we can be,” Costco’s vice president of corporate communications, Chris Brown, said in a statement.

The Costco website said the company has received nearly 400,000 customer reviews since the policy went into effect on February 1.

The announcement came after a lawsuit was filed by the National Labor Relations Board against Costco and Amazon on March 6.

The union contends that Costco employees are being fired or demoted for protesting the policy, and is seeking an injunction to prevent the retaliation.

The complaint also accuses the company of retaliating against employees who have criticized the policy.

Costco has been facing pressure from labor unions nationwide, including one in Massachusetts.

Last month, the National Retail Federation called for the closure of more than 400 Costco stores in Massachusetts and New York.

Walmart has also closed stores in New York and Massachusetts.

“Amazon’s decision to stop carrying Costco’s products has caused many employees and associates to fear for their jobs,” the union said in its complaint.

Walmart spokesman Paul Siegel said in an email that the company is “deeply committed to the well-being of our associates and our customers,” adding that the retail giant has “zero tolerance for unlawful conduct by any of our suppliers.”

“Our commitment to working with all of our employees to create an environment that’s free of unlawful conduct is as strong as ever,” Siegel wrote.

The case is S.E. Cupp v.

Costco Wholesale Corp., 12-cv-1528, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).

The Associated Press contributed to this report.