Amazon employees in Illinois file federal complaint over workplace racism

On Wednesday, former Amazon employee Tori Davis and 25 other workers filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), alleging the company forced them to work in a hazardous environment, the reports ChicagoTribune. Davis raised concerns about Amazon’s handling of a racist death threat and claims the retailer fired her after she threatened legal action if he didn’t address the incident.

In May, workers at the company’s MDW2 warehouse in Joliet, Illinois — a city 35 miles outside of Chicago — found two racist messages containing the N-word scrawled on the wall of one of the facility’s bathrooms, according to the complaint filed with the EEOC . Davis, who is black, left work without pay after her colleagues discovered the graffiti. After police investigated the incident, Amazon allegedly sent a text message to employees saying law enforcement had “detected no threats to the site’s security.”

According to the complaint, Amazon also allowed white employees at MDW2 to wear clothing displaying the Confederate flag. One person allegedly had a shirt where workers could “clearly” see the flag on both the back and sleeves of the garment.

“Amazon works hard to protect our employees from any form of discrimination and to create an environment where employees feel safe,” an Amazon spokesman told Engadget. “Hate or racism have no place in our society and will certainly not be tolerated by Amazon.”

At a news conference, Davis said she would like Amazon to implement additional safety policies at MDW2 and improve black worker representation at the facility. She is also suing her dismissal. Amazon has faced accusations of allowing racism in the workplace before. Last year, a manager at the company’s AWS division said she was from a supervisor who used racist tropes. The company has also had a history of firing employees who have tried to improve conditions at its workplaces.

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