Amazon: Discrimination Despite Excellence


On October 5, 2020, Shaun Simmons, a pregnant transgender male, filed a discrimination lawsuit against Amazon and his two supervisors, Mike Menno and Tyler Houpt. The lawsuit stated after telling his boss he was pregnant he was demoted to an order picking position that required him to lift heavy objects. Simmons states his requests for medically supported accommodations were ignored and that he suffered extensive harassment as well by other employees. This case has yet to go to trial but has been moved from the local courts in New Jersey to a Federal Court to be decided.

Though Amazon consistently scores perfect on the Human Rights Campaign’s corporate equality index, which rates companies on LGBTQ-inclusive policies, practices and benefits, “last May, a CNET investigation found at least seven lawsuits filed by women in California, Pennsylvania and New Jersey claiming they were fired by Amazon after disclosing their pregnancy.” Simmons’ case is unique as it incorporates claims of both pregnancy discrimination and anti-transgender bias. Simmons’ attorneys also plan to file a case with the EEOC as well on his behalf.

In reviewing other pregnancy discrimination and transgender bias lawsuits against Amazon it is clear that this is a wide spread issue spread across a national company and is not centralized. Though Amazon has policies in place to insure fair and equal treatment of their employees regardless of what their gender, race, sexual identity, ect… However, it would be beneficial to have sensitivity and acceptance trainings in place along with a zero-tolerance policy in regards to discrimination. There also needs to be an establish hotline for employees who feel threatened at work so that they can report their concerns privately and without free of retaliation from their immediate supervisors.

“It is not just the violence or the threat of violence that controls our lives. The burden of responsibility has been placed so often on the potential victims (Rothenburg, 2016).” These victims need to know the company has taken the steps to educate it’s employees to their responsibilities in regards to respecting their coworkers and that there is a system in place to assist them if ever they feel threated.

Resources:

Avery, D., 2020, Transgender man files pregnancy discrimination suit against

Amazon. NBC News. https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/transgender-

man-files-pregnancy-discrimination-suit-against-amazon-n1242324

Rothenburg, P., 2016, Race, Class, and Gender in the United States. 10th ed., Worth

Publishers.

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