Five women who have worked at Amazon filed suit against the company in various U.S. district courts on Wednesday, each with distinct allegations of discrimination and retaliation they say they experienced during their time at the company.
According to Recode, which first reported the news, the women span in age from their early 20s to mid-60s, and all claim to have been “retaliated against by white managers for complaining internally about race, gender, or sexual harassment or discrimination that they experienced.”
The group of women is racially diverse — two are Black, one is Latina, one is Asian American, and one is white — and represent a cross section of Amazon’s workforce, spanning from its warehouses to its corporate HR team.
In one of the lawsuits filed on Wednesday, Pearl Thomas, a 64-year-old Black human resources partner, claimed that her boss once called her the “n-word” after he mistakenly thought she had exited a video call. In a separate incident, Thomas claims that a different manager once warned her, “You don’t want to be an angry Black woman.” After complaining about both incidents internally, the complaint alleges that Thomas was placed on a performance review plan.
Another suit details the experience of Diana Cuervo, a 40-year-old Latina warehouse manager who alleges that a white male boss repeatedly made openly racist comments to her, including, “Latins suck,” “How is a Latin like you working here?” and, “You are a Latina woman, I need to be careful every time I talk to you.”
The suit is being brought by Wigdor LLP — the same law firm handling the case of Charlotte Newman, a Black Amazon Web Services senior manager who brought suit against Amazon in March over similar allegations of race and gender discrimination.
“Women and employees of colour at all levels of Amazon have had their complaints of harassment and discrimination brushed under the rug,” Wigdor LLP partners Lawrence M. Pearson and Jeanne M. Christensen said in a statement. “Amazon can no longer dismiss abusive behaviour and retaliation by white managers as mere anecdotes. These are systemic problems, entrenched deep within the company and perpetuated by a human resources organisation that treats employees who raise concerns as a problem.”
News of the five new lawsuits comes just one week ahead of a planned vote by Amazon’s shareholders on a proposal from a New York pension fund that calls for an independent audit “to assess the company’s policies and practices on civil rights, equity, diversity, and inclusion.”
Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but we’ll update this post if we hear back.
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