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Lawsuits & Litigation

Five More Women File Lawsuits Accusing Amazon of Gender Bias, Racial Discrimination

— May 27, 2021

The separately-filed lawsuits allege that Amazon managers across the country discriminate against women and racial minorities.

Five women who worked with Amazon in vastly different capacities have filed separate lawsuits against the company, alleging they were subjected to gender bias, racial discrimination, and retaliation.

According to USA Today, the lawsuit was filed by a “diverse group of women” whose ages range from 23 to 64. All of them accuse Amazon managers of retaliating against them after they filed sexual harassment or racial discrimination complaints.

USA Today notes that, of the five plaintiffs, two are Black, while the others are White, Latina, and Asian-American. Their positions with Amazon are as varied as their backgrounds: some worked in the company’s headquarters, while others held warehouse positions.

One of the lawsuits, filed by 64-year old Pearl Thomas—an Amazon Human Resources Partner in Washington who is also Black—claimed that a White supervisor called her the “N-word” after he thought she had hung up on a video call in March.

Thomas also alleged that, in other meetings, she and another Black employee were told by a general manager that, “You don’t want to be an angry Black woman.”

A gavel. Image via Wikimedia Commons via Flickr/user: Brian Turner. (CCA-BY-2.0).

Several of the other women reported similar incidents in their filings, sharing stories of enduring racial abuse, sexual harassment, and general gender bias.

One of the plaintiffs, Emily Sousa—a 23-year-old Asian-American shift manager located in Pennsylvania—said one of her managers would initiate “lengthy phone calls with her,” during which he repeatedly tried to inquire about her personal life. The same manager also asked Sousa to spend time with him outside of work. When Sousa refused, she was demoted “by three levels” and sent to work at a facility in New Jersey.

Collectively, the women are represented by Widgor LLP, which is pursuing another high-profile discrimination case against Amazon.

“Amazon can no longer dismiss abusive behavior and retaliation by white managers as mere anecdotes,” the firm said in a statement. “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.”

An attorney at the firm further observed that this lawsuit, in particular, shows the breadth and depth of discrimination within Amazon.

“These five people really represent a cross-section of employees,” said Jeanne Christensen, a partner with Widgor. “We definitely saw a pattern in the stories that we were being told.”

Amazon spokesperson Jaci Anderson told Bloomberg Equity that the company is actively investigating each of the incidents involved in the lawsuits—and has not found any evidence to support the allegations.

“Amazon works hard to foster a diverse, equitable and inclusive culture,” Anderson wrote in an email to Bloomberg. “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.”


Amazon faces 5 more lawsuits from women claiming race and gender discrimination, harassment

Amazon hit by 5 more lawsuits from employees who allege race and gender discrimination

Amazon Sued by Five Women Alleging Bias, Retaliation

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