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Amazon.com faces five new racial, gender bias lawsuits

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics centre in Boves, France, August 8, 2018. (Reuters photo)

Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN.O) has been hit with five new lawsuits by women who have worked in various roles at the company.

The women, who worked in corporate or warehouse management roles, accused the online retailer on Wednesday of gender bias, racial bias or both.

The women, who range in age from 23 to 64, each allege they faced retaliation by their white managers after complaining about the sexual harassment and discrimination they experienced there.

Two plaintiffs are Black, one is Latina, one is Asian-American and one is white. They lodged their lawsuits in federal courts in Arizona, California, Delaware and Amazon's hometown of Seattle.

They are being represented by Wigdor LLP, the New York firm that is also representing Charlotte Newman, a Black senior-level manager at Amazon Web Services, who, in March, filed a suit against the tech giant and two executives over alleged race and gender discrimination, as well as pay inequity.

The women's lawyers, Lawrence M. Pearson and Jeanne M. Christensen of Wigdor, issued a statement Wednesday, saying that women and employees of color at all levels at Amazon have long had their complaints brushed under the rug.

"Amazon can no longer dismiss abusive behavior and retaliation by white managers as mere anecdotes," the lawyers said. "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."

However, Amazon spokesperson Jaci Anderson said the corporation has found no evidence which supports the allegations.

“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.”

The lawsuits come as the company, known for an aggressive and intense workplace culture, faces pressure to make life better for its workers.

During an annual meeting to be held on May 26, Amazon plans to urge its shareholders to reject a proposal which would require an independent audit analyzing its "impacts on civil rights, equity, diversity and inclusion."


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