New York State accused Amazon of discriminating against pregnant and disabled workers

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New York State accused Amazon of discriminating against pregnant and disabled workers
An employee handles packages in an Amazon warehouse.THOMAS SAMSON/AFP via Getty Images
  • New York state's Division of Human Rights filed a discrimination complaint against Amazon on Wednesday.
  • It says Amazon failed to give accommodations to pregnant and disabled workers.
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New York State filed a complaint against Amazon on Wednesday, accusing the e-retail giant of discriminating against pregnant and disabled workers.

Governor Kathy Hochul said in a statement that the New York State Division of Human Rights filed the complaint.

Per the statement, the complaint alleged that Amazon's policies forced pregnant and disabled workers to take unpaid leave by denying them reasonable accommodations. It claimed Amazon allowed on-site managers to overrule recommendations made by designated "Accommodations Consultants."

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The complaint cited specific cases where it believed Amazon violated workers' rights, according to the governor's statement.

This includes a pregnant Amazon worker who, according to the complaint, asked to be excused from lifting boxes weighing about 25 pounds, but was overruled by her manager and subsequently suffered an injury.

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In another instance, the complaint alleged that a worker with a disability provided documentation proving they needed to stick to a certain sleep schedule, but that their Amazon manager refused to swap their shifts to accommodate it.

In a third case, a disabled worker was denied a request to reduce their hours, according to the statement.

A spokesperson for the governor's office told Insider the complaint itself is confidential, and will trigger an investigation the results of which will be made public.

This isn't the first time Amazon has been accused of denying accommodations to pregnant workers. Vice reported in July 2021 that a pregnant warehouse worker had requested lighter duties but she said her request was denied. The worker also told Vice that her manager repeatedly questioned her on why she was taking longer bathroom breaks.

According to a letter reviewed by Vice, the worker suffered a miscarriage and was denied medical leave by Amazon.

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In 2019, CNET reported Amazon had faced seven wrongful-termination lawsuits over the previous four years from workers who said they had been fired due to being pregnant.

Amazon did not immediately respond when contacted by Insider for comment outside of normal working hours.

Do you work for Amazon? Got a tip? Contact this reporter at ihamilton@insider.com or iahamilton@protonmail.com. Always use a non-work email.

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