Employees at an Amazon warehouse in Joliet, Illinois have filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the company. The employees are alleging that they’ve experienced corporate abuse, racial discrimination, and retaliation.
According to the official complaint, which was filed Tuesday, a group of Black employees have cited confederate imagery on coworkers clothing, racist death threats written in bathroom stalls, and an overall lack of security/accountability from management to combat the issue. The employees are stating that they’ve been in a racially hostile work environment since late 2021.
Tamra Holder is the institutional abuse and women’s rights attorney representing the group. Holder stated that the group is now seeking monetary compensation for emotional duress caused by stressful working conditions, in addition to a change in workplace and acknowledgement of the issue at hand.
“We don’t know what that amount comes to at this point. But I can tell you that after working in a climate where it’s racially hostile, people are experiencing extreme emotional distress,” Holder said to the media.
“Our message to Amazon is that their behavior after our cases come to light is only increasing our damages because people are becoming more afraid rather than less.”
Holder also explained that employees have become hesitant to speak out any more regarding these claims due to fear of retaliation from management, especially since the case is receiving media attention now.
“They are allegedly telling their employees that if they speak out, they will be fired because they signed an agreement to remain silent,” Holder said.
Holder says “former MDW2 employee Tori Davis was the first to make contact with [her] about the warehouse’s work environment.”
Davis claimed that the death threats were dismissed by Amazon, and she was fired earlier this month after raising concern over the racial issues her and other employees have been experiencing.
“They were trying to sweep it under the rug. The way that this situation was handled, it was strange,” Davis stated.
A spokesperson for Amazon, Richard Rocha, issued a statement:
“Amazon works hard to protect our employees from any form of discrimination and to provide an environment where employees feel safe. Hate or racism have no place in our society and are certainly not tolerated by Amazon,” the statement read.
Holder said she “plans to do everything in my power to see the complaint through and ensure that my clients’ voices are heard.”
“I think that they had an opportunity here to make it better. And instead they’re taking a very, very different aggressive stance to make it worse. They are not too big for me and they are not too big for the people that I represent…We are not going away,” she exclaimed.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.