Employees at the Joliet, Illinois, Amazon warehouse have filed a complaint against the company with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging corporate harassment, racial discrimination, and retaliation.
According to the complaint filed Tuesday, a group of Black employees at the MDW2 Fulfillment Center said Confederate images of co-workers’ attire, racist death threats posted on bathroom counters, and a lack of safety and accountability have since contributed to a racially hostile work environment. in late 2021. Corporate abuse and women’s rights lawyer Tamara Holder said her clients are now seeking change in the workplace to appropriately address and resolve these issues, while also seeking monetary damages for the emotional pressure caused by stressful working conditions.
“We don’t know what that amount is at this point. But after working in a racially hostile climate, I can say that people experience extreme emotional distress,” he told ABC News. “Our message to Amazon is that their behavior after our cases come to light is only increasing our harm, because people are starting to fear more, not less.”
As the case has garnered more attention, Holder said employees have been hesitant to talk more about these allegations for fear of further retaliation from MDW2 Logistics Center management, causing concern for the future of the case and the livelihoods of its clients.
“They’re telling their employees they’re going to be fired because they signed an agreement to keep quiet,” Holder told ABC News.
Holder said former MDW2 employee Tori Davis was the first to contact him about the warehouse’s work environment. Davis, who was fired earlier this month after raising the alarm about her concerns, ABC member told WLS He said the death threats were denied by Amazon.
“They were trying to sweep it under the rug,” Davis said. “The way this situation was handled was strange.”
Amazon spokesperson Richard Rocha made a statement to ABC News.
“Amazon works hard to protect our employees against all forms of discrimination and to provide an environment where employees feel safe. Hate or racism has no place in our society and is absolutely not tolerated by Amazon,” the statement said.
The MDW2 Logistics Center did not respond to ABC News’ request for comment.
Holder said he plans to do everything he can to consider the complaint and ensure that his clients’ voices are heard.
“I think they have an opportunity here to make it better. Instead they take a very, very different aggressive stance to make it worse,” he said. “They’re not too big for me and they’re not too big for the people I represent… We’re not going.”
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