Image source: Amazon.com
By Jonathan Stempel
Amazon.com Inc was hit on Wednesday with five new lawsuits by women who worked in corporate or warehouse management roles, and accused the online retailer of gender bias, racial bias or both.
The women, ages 23 to 64, accused Amazon of favoring men over women in career growth, allowing supervisors to denigrate them, and retaliating after they complained.
Two plaintiffs are Black, one is Latina, one is Asian-American and one is white. They filed their lawsuits in federal courts in Arizona, California, Delaware and Amazon's hometown of Seattle.
An Amazon spokesman said the company has found no evidence supporting the accusations. He also said Amazon does not tolerate discrimination or harassment, and supports a "diverse, equitable and inclusive culture."
The lawsuits were filed by the Wigdor law firm, which also represents a Black manager at Amazon Web Services who sued in March over alleged systemic discrimination.
Wednesday's plaintiffs included Cindy Warner, a gay executive in that unit, who said a male manager openly called her a "bitch," an "idiot" and a "nobody," and that Amazon terminated her job after learning she had hired a lawyer.
Pearl Thomas, one of the Black plaintiffs, said a human resources employee downplayed concerns about her treatment by saying Thomas was upset by current events and that "my name is not Derek Chauvin," the white former Minneapolis police officer convicted of murdering George Floyd.
The Wigdor firm has also represented women who accused now-convicted movie producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct, and Fox News employees alleging bias or harassment there.
In April, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said his company needed to take care of employees better, and Amazon said it wanted more Blacks in senior and corporate roles.
Amazon ended 2020 with about 1.3 million full- and part-time employees.
The company is urging shareholders at its May 26 annual meeting to reject a proposal requiring an independent audit analyzing its "impacts on civil rights, equity, diversity and inclusion."