Following Google, Amazon appears to have landed itself in yet another discrimination allegation. Charlotte Newman, a senior manager at Jeff Bezos' company, has filed a lawsuit against the firm and also some of its employees for alleged race and gender discrimination. The allegation also states that it was not a singular incident; rather it was a part of a wide-ranging pattern of discrimination against particularly the Black employees at one of the largest tech firms on Earth. The lawsuit also adds harassment and pay equity violations.
The Black senior manager filed the lawsuit in a federal court in Washington, DC. It describes an alleged sexual assault in details, which according to the lawsuit, was done by one of the ex-employees at the firm. In the lawsuit, Newman complains that not only her but many other Black female workers at the company have been subjected to spiteful stereotyping comments regarding their race, which have, most definitely, obstructed them professionally.
The Allegations That Newman Talked About
Newman of Amazon Web Services, alleges in the lawsuit that more than often she used to get assigned to do the job above her position and paygrade.
She also mentions that that her direct manager Steven Block called her "scary" and told her that she was "too direct."
Add to that Newman asserts that one of the senior employees of the tech giant, Andres Maz pulled her hair and groped her. Maz "felt free to sexually harass Ms. Newman and at times in plain view of others," reads the lawsuit.
Amazon's Response And The Uncertainties
Amazon, on the hand, has stated that they are currently looking into the matter. "Amazon works hard to foster a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture, and these allegations do not reflect those efforts or our values. We do not tolerate discrimination or harassment of any kind and thoroughly investigate all claims and take appropriate action. We are currently investigating the new allegations included in this lawsuit," said the company's spokesperson in a statement.
However, it's not yet clear as to which of the allegations have already been internally probed in the company and whether or not those allegations will be re-investigated. Newman has mentioned in her lawsuit that she indeed had complained about Block and Maz in the firm and her claims were investigated. The firm had instructed Block to take a training too, says the lawsuit.
Neither Block, nor Maz were available to respond. However, the multinational technology company did confirm that Maz no longer works for Amazon in any capacity.
Paygap, Gender Roles and "De-leveling"
Newman details in her lawsuit that whereas she was hired as a "Level 7" employee, she was confident that she was absolutely qualified to be a "level 8" senior manager. Within months of her hiring she was actually performing the "level 8" tasks but she had to fight and struggle for over two and a half years to get a promotion. Newman calls this practice "de-leveling" and she claims that all Black and Latino employees face this throughout Amazon, which leads them to receive inappropriate payment for their job and also makes their way to progression much longer and more difficult than their white peers.
Newman also asserts in her lawsuit that she did voice her concern regarding the risks of selling Amazon's Rekognition facial recognition software to law enforcement, as the technology had higher error rates when it comes to Black people. However, her concerns were absolutely shoved aside.
An MBA from Harvard University, Newman had earlier filed a complaint to the Washington, DC, Office of Human Rights too.