Employees at a Joliet, Illinois, Amazon warehouse have filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the company, alleging corporate abuse, racial discrimination and retaliation.
According to the complaint filed Tuesday, a group of black employees at the MDW2 Fulfillment Center said Confederate images on co-workers’ clothing, racist death threats written in bathroom stalls and a lack of safety and accountability have contributed to a racially hostile work environment since. late 2021. Institutional abuse and women’s rights attorney Tamara Holder said her clients are now seeking not only workplace change to appropriately address these issues, but also financial compensation for emotional distress caused by stressful work conditions.
“We don̵[ads1]7;t know what that amount will be 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,” she told ABC News. “Our message to Amazon is that their behavior after our cases have come to light only adds to our damages because people are more scared than less.”
As the case gains more attention, Holder said employees are hesitant to say anything more about these allegations for fear of further retaliation from MDW2 Fulfillment Center management, raising concerns about the future of this case and her clients’ livelihoods.
“They are allegedly telling their employees that if they speak up, they will be fired because they have signed a non-disclosure agreement,” Holder told ABC News.
Holder says former MDW2 employee Tori Davis was the first to contact her about the warehouse’s work environment. Davis, who was fired earlier this month after raising the alarm about her concerns, told ABC affiliate WLS that the death threats were dismissed by Amazon.
“They tried to sweep it under the rug,” Davis said. “The way this situation was handled, it was strange.”
An Amazon spokesperson, Richard Rocha, provided a statement to ABC News.
“Amazon works hard to protect our employees from any form of discrimination and to provide an environment where employees feel safe. Hate or racism has no place in our society and is absolutely not tolerated by Amazon,” the statement said.
The MDW2 Fulfillment Center did not respond to ABC News’ request for comment.
Holder said she plans to do everything in her power to review the complaint and ensure clients’ voices are heard.
“I think they had an opportunity here to make it better. And instead, they’re taking a very, very different aggressive stance to make it worse,” she said. “They’re not too big for me and they’re not too big for the people I represent … We’re not going away.”