New York Governor Kathy Hochul Wednesday announced the New York State Division of Human Rights filed a discrimination complaint against Amazon.
The complaint alleges Amazon discriminated against both “pregnant workers and workers with disabilities by denying them reasonable accommodations.” Additionally, the complaint “alleges that Amazon has policies that force pregnant workers and workers with disabilities to take an unpaid leave of absence rather than allowing them to work with a reasonable accommodation.”
The New York State Human Rights Law mandates that “all employers, upon request, reasonably accommodate workers with disabilities or pregnancy-related conditions.” The complaint seeks a decision where Amazon is required “to cease its discriminatory conduct, adopt non-discriminatory policies and practices regarding the review of requests for reasonable accommodations, train its employees on the provisions of the Human Rights Law, and pay civil fines and penalties to the State of New York.”
By filing this discrimination complaint, Hochul aims to hold employers accountable, regardless of their size, “if they do not treat their workers with the dignity and respect they deserve.”
UPDATE 5/19/22: Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Nantel provided JURIST with the following statement:
Ensuring all our employees, including those with disabilities and expectant mothers, feel safe and supported is extremely important to Amazon and we have numerous programs to ensure that’s the case, and while we don’t always get it right with a workforce of over 1.6 million people, we work diligently to offer the best available options to accommodate individual situations. We’re surprised by the governor’s announcement this morning because we’ve been cooperating and working closely with her investigator on this matter and had no indication a complaint was coming. Since we haven’t received the complaint ourselves yet, we’re not in a position to comment further.