Amazon is no stranger to claims that it has discriminated against employees based on race, age and gender and then attempted to sweep the allegations under the rug. However, the number of claims against Amazon appears to be increasing as more employees gain the courage to speak out. The latest filings contain specific descriptions of the discriminatory conduct.
The five new lawsuits are brought by five women ranging in age from 23 to 64. The women have worked in corporate positions or warehouse management. While the lawsuits were individually filed, all of the women allege that they were subject to retaliation from white managers for complaining about acts of sexual harassment and discrimination. The five women are represented by a single New York City law firm. The lawyers said that “Amazon can no longer dismiss abusive behavior and retaliation by white managers as mere anecdotes.” The five plaintiffs comprise two black women, one white woman, one Latina woman and one Asian American.
The five complaints each allege specific instances of discriminatory behavior.
In one case, a Latina warehouse manager says that she was called the “n—“ word by a manager who wrongly believed that she had hung up on a video conference call. The same woman alleged that she and another black employee were told by a general manager that “You don’t want to be an angry black woman.”
The Latina plaintiff said that one her supervisors said “Latins suck” and questioned how she managed to be employed by Amazon. The woman said that she was fired weeks after reporting the harassing behavior to the human resources department.
The white plaintiff alleged that her supervisor made a number of hostile racist and sexist comments about her.
The Asian American plaintiff, who was a shift manager at Amazon’s Harleysville, Pennsylvania facility, accused her manager of making a number of sexual advances. After rejecting these advances for several months, the woman was demoted by three levels and sent to work in a facility in New Jersey. Amazon refused to take any action against the manager.
Encouragement for others
While these lawsuits are far from over, and while their outcomes cannot be predicted, the courage of these women should be an inspiration to other employees of large, powerful employers who tolerate discriminatory behavior. Anyone who believe they have been subject to such behavior may wish to contact an experienced employment discrimination attorney for an evaluation of the facts and advice on the availability of various legal remedies.