Amazon facing race, gender discrimination lawsuits
An Amazon Prime truck in downtown Seattle near Amazon HQ. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser)
Amazon is facing numerous lawsuits alleging the company has created a culture that discriminates against Black, Latino and Native American office workers.
The lawsuits, five in total, contend overall that the company systematically bypasses minority groups for promotion in favor of white employees. One of the lawsuits, filed by an Amazon human resources worker, asserts that there is data to back up the claim that Black, Latino, and Native American workers do not get promoted at the same rate as their white counterparts.
The five lawsuits were filed by women who work or once worked for the retail giant including two employees from Seattle, the Seattle Times reported. The lawsuits are not limited to promotions but collectively also detail incidents of inappropriate behavior by supervisors, harassment, and discrimination based on race.
An Amazon spokesperson said the matters were examined internally and no problems were discovered.
“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,” the spokesperson said. “Amazon works hard to foster a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture.”
Recode reported that the women, “who range in age 20s to mid-60s” also claim that white managers retaliated when they initially lodged complaints within the company. Among the claimants, one is white, one is Latina, one is Asian American, and two are Black. Three of the women remain employed at the company.
The spokesperson said that the lawsuits do not track with the type of workplace Amazon cultivates. “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.”
According to Recode, one of the lawsuits was from 64-year-old Pearl Thomas who works in human resources.
Thomas said that, “her boss in Amazon Web Services HR, Keith DurJava, referred to her by using the ‘n-word’ after apparently believing she had disconnected from a video call.”
She added that a different manager told her, “You don’t want to be an angry Black woman,” and that her boss put her on a performance review plan after she made the complaint, according to the lawsuit.
Amazon, which showed more than $100 billion in revenue during the pandemic while swelling to 1.2 million employees worldwide, has faced sharp criticism in recent months from hiring and promotions that overlook women and minorities to union busting in Bessemer, Ala.
Amazon has denied all of those assertions.