According to news on November 21, three Amazon employees sued their employer on Monday local time in the United States, claiming gender discrimination and accusing the company of retaliation after they complained about “long-standing pay inequality.”
Caroline Wilmuth, Katherine Schomer and Erin Combs, who hold various positions in Amazon’s enterprise research and strategy department, said the company assigns female employees occupy lower-ranking positions, while male employees hold higher-ranking positions and receive higher salaries.
Additionally, companies “often do not” promote women into positions, “resulting in women being paid less even though they are doing similar work to men in more senior positions.”
Beginning in late 2021, the three women separately raised these concerns with their managers and Amazon Human Resources, which launched an investigation into whether the employees had been misclassified based on their gender. Wilmuth said that of the four researchers on her team, three female employees were placed in lower-paying job categories, while the only male researcher was placed in a higher-paying, higher-level position. The male researcher’s salary was “approximately 150% of Schomer’s salary,” according to the complaint.
Wilmuth, Schommer and Combs allege that within weeks of speaking out, Amazon retaliated against them, demoting them, “significantly” reducing their job responsibilities and placing them in Their direct reports were transferred to another team run by a male executive. They had accused the male executive of sexism.
“I was shocked and devastated when I found out I was being paid significantly less than the male colleagues on my team,” Wilmuth said in a statement. “After I complained, Amazon made matters worse. They dismantled the team I had built from scratch and demoted me to a position with far less opportunity for career advancement.”
In March, an investigator assigned to look into Wilmuth’s concerns determined that Amazon’s decision to move her reporting to another team overseen by a male executive had a “disparate impact” on women, according to the complaint. . During the course of the investigation, investigators spoke with male researchers on Wilmuth’s team, who acknowledged that the restructuring was “discriminatory, transphobic” and caused harm to Wilmuth, Schommer and Coombs. .
Amazon spokesman Brad Glasser dismissed the lawsuit in a statement, saying: “We believe these claims are false and will pursue the legal process to prove this.”
He added that Amazon does not tolerate discrimination in the workplace and investigates all reports of such conduct.
The class action lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. The lawsuit was filed by Outten & Golden, a New York law firm that has represented a Google executive in winning a gender discrimination lawsuit and has also represented Uber software engineers in a lawsuit against the company for gender discrimination. racism.
Amazon has faced numerous accusations of gender and racial discrimination from employees in recent years. The company conducted an evaluation of its employee review system in 2021 and launched a separate investigation into discrimination and bias in its cloud computing unit after accusations of racial bias. Last April, Amazon announced it would conduct a racial equality audit of its frontline workforce, led by former Attorney General Loretta Lynch.