A state agency in New York has filed an administrative complaint against Amazon, alleging the e-commerce giant discriminated against pregnant and disabled workers by denying them “reasonable accommodations” and forcing them to take unpaid leave, a announced Governor Kathy Hochul on Wednesday.
Amazon has more than 39,000 workers across New York at nearly two dozen job sites, which employ in-house consultants who evaluate hosting requests, according to a statement from the governor’s office. 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 ignore consultants’ recommendations, which has leads to refusals in workers’ demands.
State law requires all employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant and disabled workers. The governor’s office lists three separate employee requests from pregnant or disabled workers that it says were denied.
The complaint also alleges that under Amazon policy, employees with disabilities are required to take unpaid sick leave even when the accommodation consultant “has identified a reasonable accommodation that would allow the employee to exercise the essential duties of his post without undue burden”. the governor’s office said in a statement. He said such practices violate state law.
“My administration will hold every employer, whether large or small, accountable if they fail to treat their workers with the dignity and respect they deserve,” Governor Hochul said in a statement.
Among other things, the complaint seeks to compel Amazon to cease what it calls its discriminatory conduct and to pay fines and penalties. Seattle-based Amazon.com Inc. did not immediately respond to a request for comment.