At least six women from different regions, including western Washington, are suing the online retail giant for alleged racial and gender discrimination.
EVERETT, Washington. – Diana Cuervo moved to Everett from Brooklyn to take a job at one of the world’s most successful companies. However, she says that success in Amazon’s Everett distribution facility was hard to achieve.
Cuervo says she was exposed to racist and degrading comments from a manager almost every day. She claims that when she complained about this, she was fired.
“It was terrible. It was bad,” said Cuervo. “At this point, I’m more angry and angry than sad.”
In a lawsuit against Amazon that has just been filed against Amazon, Cuervo alleged “openly racial and ethnic harassment and discrimination” by her manager.
She claims the abuse took the form of months of insulting the Colombian-born woman: “Latins suck. How does a Latin like you work here? “Cuervo claims she was told she was just hired:” Check the diversity box. “
“[Going to work every day] was difficult, but I made it. I’ve always done it. I never missed my responsibility. It was difficult, but I did it, ”said Cuervo.
Cuervo claims she eventually confronted her manager with the situation and considered reporting her to HR, but was stopped.
“When I tried to talk about the situation, they always say that if you say something you will be fired. They said to me: “The HR department doesn’t work for you. The HR department works for Amazon. ‘”
Cuervo worked as an “area manager” at Amazon and often put in longer hours than was required of her because she “never wanted to give them a reason” to fire them, she said.
Eventually she went to the human resources department, where she said her concerns were largely ignored. She also says she was forced to speak to her manager about her complaints in what she considered an act of “intimidation”.
A few days after formally filing her complaints, Cuervo said she had been fired for no clear reason.
According to Amazon, Cuervo was fired after an investigation found she violated Amazon’s workplace safety guidelines by allowing two non-employees to enter a secure facility and “against express instructions from at a dangerous trailer dock- and approval process was involved for which she was not trained by her manager. “
Cuervo denies any wrongdoing.
The company also says the meetings between Cuervo, their manager, and Amazon HR were performance management meetings that arose from ongoing performance issues.
“There is no evidence that the parties present raised any discrimination concerns. Ms. Cuervo and her managers then exchanged summaries of the discussions, none of which raised any such concerns, ”said Amazon.
Regardless, the job Cuervo worked for across the country, hoping it could turn into a career, only lasted seven months.
“It’s very clear that at Amazon they don’t want people to complain to HR because when people start talking to HR or start complaining, they get fired,” Cuervo said.
Cuervo’s attorney Lawrence Pearson represents half a dozen current and former Amazon employees from across the country who are now suing the company for gender or racial discrimination. All of them are women and three of them are black.
Pearson says these are not cases of bad managers, but rather a poisoned culture.
“It seems to be an organizational problem,” he said. “They face the same very aggressive approach to HR where they become the enemy when they raise genuine concerns.”
“It’s a systemic problem and they know it,” added Cuervo.
An Amazon spokesperson told KING 5, “We are conducting thorough investigations into each of these unrelated cases, as we do with reported incidents, and we have found no evidence to support the allegations. Amazon works hard to promote a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture. We do not tolerate any form of discrimination or harassment, and employees are encouraged to raise concerns to senior management or through an anonymous ethics line without the risk of retaliation. “