Yesterday, five women, current and former employees of Amazon, filed separate lawsuits at various US district courts alleging they had suffered racial and gender discrimination at work.
The women have also alleged that they were retailed against by their managers for internally raising the discrimination and harassment they experienced while working at Amazon.
According to Recode, which broke the news, these women have worked in a range of roles at the e-commerce giant including corporate HR and warehouses. Their ages range from the early 20s to mid-60s and they are a racially diverse group.
All five women are being represented by New York law firm Wigdor LLP. The firm is also representing Charlotte Newman, a Black Amazon Web Services senior manager who began proceedings in March over similar gender and racial discrimination allegations.
In a statement to Recode Wigdor partners, Lawrence M. Pearson and Jeanne M. Christensen, said: “Women and employees of color at all levels of Amazon have had their complaints of harassment and discrimination brushed under the rug.
“Amazon can no longer dismiss abusive behavior and retaliation by white managers as mere anecdotes.
“These are systemic problems, entrenched deep within the company and perpetuated by a human resources organization that treats employees who raise concerns as a problem.”
One of the women – 40-year-old Latina warehouse manager Diana Cuervo – alleges that a while male boss called Christopher Stoia repeatedly made racist comments to her face. Cuervo claims she was fired within weeks of reporting Stoia’s behavior to HR.
Another woman – 64-year-old Black HR partner Pearl Thomas – claims her boss Keith DurJava referred to her using the ‘n-word’ after he thought she had exited a video call. She states that shortly after reporting his behavior she was placed on a performance review plan.
In a statement to UNLEASH, an Amazon spokesperson said: “We are conducting thorough investigations for each of these unrelated cases, as we do with any reported incidents, and we have found no evidence to support the allegations.
“Amazon works hard to foster a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture. We do not tolerate discrimination or harassment in any form, and employees are encouraged to raise concerns to any member of management or through an anonymous ethics hotline with no risk of retaliation.”
These lawsuits come as Amazon is on a mission to be world’s best employer despite repeated allegations of unacceptable working conditions.