NEW YORK, May 19 – A New York state agency has accused Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN.O) of discriminating against pregnant and disabled workers in its workplace, Governor Kathy Hochhol said Wednesday.
Amazon was also accused of having policies requiring workers to take unpaid leave of absence instead of providing adequate accommodation, even if they were unable to work.
The New York State Division of Human Rights blamed Amazon for allowing work site managers to ignore in-house “housing consultants” who recommended that employees be given changed schedules or job responsibilities.
State law requires employers to provide adequate housing for pregnant and disabled workers who ask. It also views pregnancy-related medical conditions as disabilities.
“My management will hold any employer accountable, no matter how big or small, if they do not treat their workers with the respect and dignity they deserve,” Hochhol said in a statement. Said in a statement.
Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Natal said Hochhol’s announcement was “surprising” because the Seattle-based company had been working closely with the New York regulator.
He also said that Amazon considers it “extremely important” that all employees feel safe and supportive, and work hard to provide housing, while acknowledging that with more than 1.6 million employees. ” We don’t always fix it. “
Amazon is the largest private employer in the United States besides Walmart Inc. It operates 23 work sites in New York with over 39,000 employees.
The company has come under increasing criticism for its treatment of workers, some of whom have called for unionization.
Last September, six Democratic senators, including Kirsten Glebrand of New York, called on the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to investigate Amazon’s alleged “regulatory” failure to accommodate pregnant warehouse workers.
Wednesday’s complaint alleges that Amazon allegedly forced a pregnant worker to continue carrying a package weighing more than 25 pounds (11 kg), and that he was on indefinite unpaid leave after being injured.
It also said that Amazon changed its recommendations to two disabled workers to modify their work schedules when their managers resisted the changes.
Complaints filed by the Human Rights Division are confidential.
Amazon’s complaint seeks new policies to review indefinite civil penalties and fines, better training, and reasonable housing applications.
Violations can result in a fine of up to 50,000, or up to ,000 100,000, for intentional conduct.
In 2021, Amazon’s profit was $ 33.4 billion.
The company has also been the subject of a lawsuit filed by state Attorney General Letia James.
On May 10, a state appeals court dismissed the lawsuit against Amazon for failing to protect workers at two New York City facilities against COVID-19, and against the two employees. Unlawful retaliation was taken against those who protested the situation.