Amazon accused of discriminating against pregnant, disabled workers in complaint filed by New York agency

A New York state agency has filed an administrative complaint against Amazon, alleging the e-commerce giant discriminated against pregnant and disabled workers by refusing reasonable accommodation and forcing them to take unpaid leave, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Wednesday.

According to a statement from the governor’s office, Amazon employs more than 39,000 people across New York in nearly two dozen workplaces that employ internal consultants who evaluate housing requests. But the New York State Division of Human Rights, the agency that filed the complaint, alleges the retailer has a policy that allows on-site managers to override advisors’ recommendations, leading to denials of workers’ requests have led.

State law requires all employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant and disabled workers. The governor’s office lists three separate applications from pregnant or disabled workers that are said to have been denied.

The complaint also alleges that under Amazon’s policy, employees with disabilities are required to take unpaid sick leave even if the housing consultant has “determined a reasonable accommodation that would allow the employee to perform the essential functions of their position without undue burden.” to fulfill”. The governor’s office said in a statement. It said such practices violate state law.

“My government will hold every employer accountable, no matter how big or small, for not treating their workers with the dignity and respect they deserve,” Gov. Hochul said in a statement.

Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said in a statement that the governor’s announcement came as a surprise because the company was working with a state investigator on the matter “and had no indication a complaint was coming.”

“It is extremely important for Amazon to ensure that all of our employees, including those with disabilities and expectant mothers, feel safe and supported, and we have numerous programs in place to ensure that this is the case, and although we do with a workforce Out of over 1.6 million people, we work diligently to offer the best options available to suit individual situations,” Nantel said, adding that the company did not receive the complaint and was “unable to to make further comments”.

The complaint aims, among other things, to demand that Amazon stop its discriminatory behavior and pay fines and penalties. Amazon accused of discriminating against pregnant, disabled workers in complaint filed by New York agency

Ryan Sederquist

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