Racial discrimination and sexual harassment are interpersonal offenses that involve many different kinds of behavior. Many residents of New York and New Jersey frequently make accusations of racial discrimination and sexual harassment against their employers and managers, but too often, nothing happens. A middle management employee for Amazon has recently filed a complaint in Federal district court in the District of Columbia that describes behavior that has been the subject of lawsuits in both New York and New Jersey. A review of the allegations of the complaint demonstrate the pervasive nature and harm caused by such behavior.
The allegations of the complaint
The plaintiff alleges that she was originally hired in 2017 to work in Amazon Web Services Division (AWS) at a lower level and lower pay grade than she felt were justified by her qualifications and experience. Even though she was performing tasks that often fell to more senior workers. She began to request a promotion to an appropriate level. She also alleged that her first manager in AWS employed racial stereotypes by telling her that she was “too direct” and “just scary.”
The complaint specifically alleges that the plaintiff applied for a Level 7 position but was hired at Level 6. The complaint further alleges that many white individuals with less training and experience than plaintiff were hired at higher levels than plaintiff. Plaintiff alleges that she was given many Level 7 assignments while receiving only Level 6 pay.
The plaintiff also alleged that another manager in the AWS division sexually harassed her by pressing her lap and genitalia and propositioning her for sex. She was then reviewed by a new supervisor who allegedly used language from one of her previous managers in reviewing her work. Consequently, the plaintiff says that she felt unable to report the acts of discrimination and harassment that she had suffered.
The next step
Amazon will almost certainly bring a motion before the court to dismiss the lawsuit. Such a motion should – and most likely will – be dismissed, and the lawsuit will then settle into the pretrial activities of document discovery and depositions. If the case is not resolved through a mutual agreement, it will go trial in Washington, D.C. according to the court’s schedule.
Anyone who has experienced similar acts of discrimination and harassment may wish to consult an experienced employment lawyer for an evaluation of a possible law suit and an estimate of the likelihood of recovering damages and changing the employer’s behavior.