A female manager at Amazon.com Inc has filed a lawsuit against the online retailer alleging that it hires Black people for lower positions, and promotes them more slowly than white colleagues. She also said she was subjected to harassment.
The lawsuit has been filed by a Black woman named Charlotte Newman who is a business development head at Amazon Web Services. She alleged that Amazon.com Inc suffers from a “systemic pattern of insurmountable discrimination,” despite its pledge to fight racism.
In a statement Amazon said it was investigating the claims while adding, it strives for an equitable culture and has no tolerance for discrimination.
“These allegations do not reflect those efforts or our values” said Amazon.com.
Newman filed the complaint in a federal court in Washington, D.C.
Newman, a Harvard Business School graduate and a former adviser to U.S. Senator Cory Booker, alleged that Amazon delayed her rise to senior manager by hiring her in 2017 for a junior role, for which she was overqualified, a “de-leveling” that reduces awards of company stock.
She has also accused a male supervisor of using racial slurs by calling her “too direct”, “aggressive,” and “just scary” ; she has also accused a male co-worker of sexually harassing her and another of pulling on her braids saying, “You can leave this behind.”
Both men have been named as defendants in the lawsuit.
The co-worker’s lawyer could not immediately be identified.
Newman is seeking compensatory and punitive damages.
She is represented by Douglas Wigdor, who also represented women suing the former movie producer Harvey Weinstein and Fox News over alleged harassment or discrimination.
Amazon, led by Jeff Bezos has shown support for the Black Lives Matter movement. In September 2020, Amazon’s cloud computing chief Andy Jassy, who will succeed Bezos as Amazon CEO, gave a keynote address at a Black Employee Network entrepreneurship conference.