Amazon employee sues the company, alleging racial discrimination and unequal pay

An Amazon employee filed a lawsuit Monday accusing the tech giant of deliberately paying her and other Black employees less than their White counterparts, be...

Posted: Mar 2, 2021 10:49 AM

An Amazon employee filed a lawsuit Monday accusing the tech giant of deliberately paying her and other Black employees less than their White counterparts, becoming the latest on a growing list of current and former Amazon workers to accuse the company of systemic racism.

Amazon said it was investigating the allegations in the lawsuit. "Amazon works hard to foster a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture, and these allegations do not reflect those efforts or our values," a spokesperson said. "We do not tolerate discrimination or harassment of any kind and thoroughly investigate all claims and take appropriate action."

In her complaint, Charlotte Newman, a 38-year-old Black woman who lives in Washington DC, said Amazon Web Services hired her four years ago to work as a public policy manager even though she had applied for and said she was qualified to work as a higher-level senior manager, a practice Newman suggests is routine.

"Many of Ms. Newman's colleagues observed a consistent practice of paying Black employees less than similarly situated White employees, and a near-total lack of Black representation in and very few women in the upper echelons of the group's leadership," Newman's attorneys wrote in the complaint, filed in federal court in Washington, DC.

The complaint also accuses the company of "de-leveling" Black employees when they are hired — "dropping them a level below the job they applied and were qualified for or will be performing."

In the lawsuit, Newman says she waited nearly three years to get promoted to the more-senior level she originally applied for "despite the fact that she was given and did the work of employees at the higher ... level." She also says she was sexually assaulted and harassed by a senior male employee before filing a written complaint about the alleged incident last June.

The complaint indicated the senior male employee was terminated.

Newman's attorney, Douglas H. Wigdor, said it's too early to determine damages, but that the claim would be in the "millions of dollars." He said Newman has decided to continue working at Amazon despite how she's allegedly been treated.

"She's going to try to make change from within, which is why she's so brave," Wigdor said.

Newman is the latest Black Amazon employee to accuse the company of discriminatory practices. Last week, Recode reported Black Amazon employees are promoted less often and receive harsher evaluations than their non-Black colleagues, citing internal data and interviews with Amazon diversity managers.

Amazon told Recode the company disagrees with the story's characterization of Amazon's culture, claiming the facts presented were "based on the views of a small number of individuals."

"Teams across Amazon have hired hundreds of thousands of Black employees and thousands of Black managers, and our retention data and employee surveys illustrate that they have similar attrition rates and greater job satisfaction and feelings of inclusion than their non-Black colleagues," Amazon told Recode. "We recognize we have work to do, including increasing Black representation at all levels, and we set — and met — aggressive goals to double the representation of Black Vice Presidents and Directors in 2020 and are committing to do so again in 2021."

Amazon has also faced criticism for attempting to delay a union vote at a warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, where 85% of the employees are Black, Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union said last month.

Regarding the union effort, Amazon spokesperson Heather Knox told CNN Business in January that "we opened this site in March and since that time have created more than 5,000 full-time jobs in Bessemer, with average pay of $15.30 per hour, including full healthcare, vision and dental insurance, 50% 401(K) match from the first day on the job; in safe, innovative, inclusive environments, with training, continuing education, and long-term career growth."

West Lafayette
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 79°
Kokomo
Partly Cloudy
76° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 76°
Rensselaer
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 72°
Fowler
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 79°
Williamsport
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 74°
Crawfordsville
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 75°
Frankfort
Partly Cloudy
75° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 75°
Delphi
Partly Cloudy
71° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 71°
Monticello
Partly Cloudy
71° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 71°
Logansport
Partly Cloudy
73° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 73°
Air Quality Alert for Pulaski, Fulton, Cass and Miami counties til 1 a.m. EDT
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 764448

Reported Deaths: 13965
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1049701803
Lake567981029
Allen42685698
St. Joseph37253568
Hamilton37131426
Elkhart29699470
Tippecanoe23347230
Vanderburgh23106404
Porter19538327
Johnson18755391
Hendricks18012321
Madison13463345
Clark13450198
Vigo12789255
LaPorte12533224
Monroe12494178
Delaware11100198
Howard10612237
Kosciusko9736123
Hancock8707149
Bartholomew8235157
Warrick8031157
Floyd7975181
Grant7337181
Wayne7222201
Boone7145105
Morgan6886142
Marshall6323116
Dubois6267118
Cass6083111
Dearborn598578
Noble595790
Henry5939111
Jackson514677
Shelby509097
Lawrence4901127
Gibson460696
Montgomery454492
Clinton453555
DeKalb451585
Harrison450576
Whitley414745
Huntington411781
Steuben409560
Miami404073
Jasper399455
Knox387091
Putnam383762
Wabash367383
Adams351656
Ripley350471
Jefferson340486
White338954
Daviess3084100
Wells302281
Greene292285
Decatur291493
Fayette285864
Posey280435
Scott278058
LaGrange276972
Clay273048
Washington252437
Randolph247083
Jennings238149
Spencer237531
Fountain233750
Starke229859
Owen221059
Sullivan219043
Fulton207645
Jay202832
Carroll196522
Orange190556
Perry189139
Vermillion179644
Rush177027
Franklin171635
Tipton171547
Parke153616
Pike141234
Blackford137832
Pulaski122948
Newton122436
Benton109215
Brown105743
Crawford105116
Martin92515
Warren87615
Switzerland8308
Union73510
Ohio58211
Unassigned0428

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events