The lawsuit, which was filed by Dane Lane and Allegra Schawe-Lane in the U.S. District Court in Covington, Kentucky, alleges that the company's warehouse in northern Kentucky was a toxic work environment where Schawe-Lane suffered great abuse.
While Amazon may have a strong record as a supporter of LGBT rights, this case shows that not even the employees at the retail giant are entirely free from experiencing discrimination.
The suit claims that Schawe-Lane suffered discrimination at the workplace despite the company's corporate policy stating that discrimination based on sexual orientation is prohibited.
One of such cases involved a group of women entering the restroom as Schawe-Lane used it. She then heard one of them loudly exclaim, “It's in here right now,” the suit claims. Another woman then replied, “Maybe we should drag it outside the fucking stall.”
Thanks to this hostility, Schawe-Lane said she suffered severe bladder and kidney infections as she avoided using the restroom while at work.
The couple were hired at the Amazon warehouse in October 2014 but resigned one year later. They said that whenever they complained about the harassment, the company would retaliate by keeping them from taking breaks together, and by cutting Schawe-Lane's paychecks irregularly.
According to the suit, managers would not even allow Schawe-Lane to leave when she suffered medical emergencies.
“My husband Dane and I were devoted to our jobs. In return, we were treated atrociously by our co-workers and our bosses, simply because I am a woman,” she said.
After filing a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the couple obtained word from the agency that they have enough evidence to pursue a case against the company. Now, the Lane couple is seeking both compensatory payment and punitive damages.
It's terrifying to think that a company that has been so supportive of the LGBT community would be at the center of this type of incident. Hopefully, this will prompt other victims to speak out if they have also been unfairly targeted in their workplace.
Banner and thumbnail image credit: Reuters/Carlo Allegri