Bulletins

Amazon faces five new discrimination lawsuits

Among the charges: A Black HR leader alleges that her supervisor called her the N-word.

The Amazon logo on a phone.

Five Amazon employees have filed new lawsuits against the company, charging it with discrimination.

Photo: Christian Wiediger/Unsplash

Amazon is facing five separate lawsuits from three current and two former employees alleging discrimination and retaliation.


The first lawsuit, filed by senior human resources specialist Tiffany Gordwin, alleges retaliation and discrimination. Gordwin, a Black woman, claims she has been passed over for promotions and retaliated against for speaking out by racial bias.

Another by Diana Cuervo, a former delivery operations area manager, alleges racial and ethnic harassment from her white, male supervisor. In the lawsuit, Cuervo said her manager made comments like, "Latins suck" and "You are a Latina woman, I need to be careful every time I talk to you." Additionally, Cuervo said she was wrongfully fired after filing a complaint about the harassment and discrimination.

Cindy Warner, who worked at Amazon Web Services until she says she was wrongfully terminated, alleges she was hired at an inappropriately low level, or "deleveled," upon joining Amazon. Similar to Charlotte Newman, the Amazon senior manager who is suing the company for discrimination and harassment, similarly accused the company of hiring her at a lower level. In Warner's case, she also claims she experienced verbal abuse and gender discrimination. She alleges white male managers called her a "bitch," "idiot" and a "nobody." The suit goes on to claim that Amazon unlawfully fired her about three weeks after the company found out she planned to pursue a lawsuit.

Emily Sousa, an area manager, alleges that a male manager compared her to an adult film actress during her first week at Amazon. Sousa, an Asian American woman, also claims she was sexually and racially harassed by a different male manager. The suit states Sousa reported the manager to human resources but the person in question was not reprimanded.

The fifth lawsuit comes from Pearl Thomas, a Black human resources partner, who alleges her direct supervisor called her the N-word. When Thomas reported the incident to "HR for HR," the representative allegedly dismissed her complaints, saying her manager "must not have known you were still on the phone," the suit states. The suit also alleges Amazon retaliated against her after she officially filed a complaint about the racial hostility she experienced. Following her complaint, Amazon placed her on a performance improvement plan.

"Women and employees of color at all levels of Amazon have had their complaints of harassment and discrimination brushed under the rug and met with retaliation for years," Wigdor LLP partners Lawrence Pearson and Jeanne Christensen said in a statement. "Amazon can no longer dismiss abusive behavior and retaliation by white managers as mere anecdotes. These are systemic problems, entrenched deep within the company and perpetuated by a human resources organization that treats employees who raise concerns as the problem. This must be addressed immediately. Until then, we look forward to vigorously litigating our clients' discrimination and retaliation claims against Amazon."

In a statement emailed to Protocol, Amazon said: "We are conducting thorough investigations for each of these unrelated cases, as we do with any reported incidents, and we have found no evidence to support the allegations. Amazon works hard to foster a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture. We do not tolerate discrimination or harassment in any form, and employees are encouraged to raise concerns to any member of management or through an anonymous ethics hotline with no risk of retaliation."

Update: This post was updated at 4:05 p.m. PT to include Amazon's statement.

Latest Bulletins

In order to hobble China’s ability to produce computer chips, U.S. officials are in talks with their counterparts in Holland to block a semiconductor manufacturing tool maker based there from exporting its machines to China, Bloomberg News reported on Tuesday.

Keep Reading Show less

Stock and crypto trading service eToro has called off a SPAC merger and will stay private, the company said Tuesday. The company is also laying off about 6% of its staff.

Keep Reading Show less

Crypto lender Nexo announced Tuesday that it has signed a term sheet to acquire fellow lender Vauld for an undisclosed sum. While Nexo currently manages assets for about four million users, Vauld manages assets for about 100,000 people, according to the company’s estimates last year.

Keep Reading Show less

Twitter on Tuesday filed a suit against the Indian government in an attempt to limit government oversight over politically charged content moderation decisions. The lawsuit, filed in the Karnataka High Court, also alleges abuse of power by elected officials in India.

Keep Reading Show less

Tesla has lost its spot as the world's largest electric vehicle maker to BYD, the Chinese automaker backed by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway.

Keep Reading Show less

Ending a project that once sought to build a world-spanning financial network, Meta announced on the Novi website Friday that the pilot test of its blockchain-based money-transfer app would end in September.

Keep Reading Show less

In the wake of privacy concerns following Roe v. Wade being overturned, Google said Friday that it will start automatically deleting location history related to potentially sensitive places.

Keep Reading Show less

Voyager Digital said Friday it is suspending trading, deposits and withdrawals, in the latest sign of the deepening crisis in the crypto markets. Voyager said the move is meant to give the major crypto broker “additional time” to look for “strategic alternatives” as the company grapples with the impact of the market slump, CEO Stephen Ehrlich said in a statement.

Keep Reading Show less

BlockFi CEO Zac Prince said his company has signed a deal giving FTX the option to buy the crypto lender for up to $240 million as part of a credit financing agreement.

Keep Reading Show less

Tesla is facing yet another racial discrimination lawsuit, this one brought by 15 Black current and former employees who are suing the company in California.

The workers said the company’s culture allowed for “blatant, open and unmitigated race discrimination” and most of the alleged behaviors are said to have occurred at the company's factory in Fremont.

Keep Reading Show less

Klarna is close to raising new funding at a valuation of about $6.5 billion, which would be far below its last round raised last year, according to the Wall Street Journal. The move is the latest sign of the effects of inflation and the economic downturn on the fintech sector and "buy now, pay later" in particular.

Keep Reading Show less

Crypto companies will have to disclose just how much climate damage is tied to the tokens they're hawking. At least in Europe, that is.

Keep Reading Show less

Gene Levoff, Apple's former director of Corporate Law, pleaded guilty to insider trading, the Department of Justice announced Thursday.

Keep Reading Show less

New York state environmental regulators have declined to extend a key permit to a controversial cryptocurrency mining operation in the state's Finger Lakes region.

Keep Reading Show less

FTX is reportedly close to gobbling up BlockFi for about $25 million, though BlockFi's CEO has dismissed the talk as "market rumors."

Keep Reading Show less

The CFPB said it has terminated a sandbox deal that gave earned wage access provider Payactiv “temporary safe harbor from liability” under key lending regulations.

The CFPB granted Payactiv “special regulatory treatment” in December 2020 to offer “earned wage access” products that would allow employees to obtain wages they already earned before payday.

Payactiv gets paid back through a payroll deduction from the employee’s next paycheck. The company makes money through fees.

The CFPB said it had informed Payactiv early this month that it was “considering terminating the approval order in light of certain public statements the company made wrongly suggesting a CFPB endorsement of its products.”

The company requested that the CFPB end the sandbox order after notifying the agency that it planned to modify its product fee model, the CFPB said.

The move underlined the CFPB’s increasingly critical view of sandbox deals that the agency said “proved to be ineffective.”

Safwan Shah, Payactiv's founder and CEO, is credited with coining the term "earned wage access," which has been criticized by consumer advocates as being potentially predatory, especially when it comes to workers who don’t make much money.

Shah has argued that it benefits ordinary workers, citing a dieting principle: "The less you are paid, the more frequently you should be paid," he told Protocol in a 2021 interview. "If you're going to eat 500 calories, don't eat them in one sitting. Spread them throughout the day."

Correction: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Payactiv's name. This story was updated June 30, 2022.

Samsung announced Wednesday that it has taken a significant step toward rolling out a next-generation manufacturing technology that has the potential to reshuffle the chip industry.

Keep Reading Show less

Amazon has censored search results related to LGBTQ+ products in the United Arab Emirates after being pressured by the government.

Keep Reading Show less

Grayscale is suing the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission after the regulator denied the company's bid to convert its bitcoin trust into an exchange-traded fund.

Keep Reading Show less

App developers in South Korea can now use third-party payment systems, Apple announced in a blog post Thursday.

Keep Reading Show less

An employee working for OpenSea's email delivery vendor misused their customer data access to download and share email addresses with an "unauthorized external party," the NFT marketplace wrote in a company blog post Wednesday. The employee worked for Customer.io.

Keep Reading Show less

Javier Soltero is leaving Google Workspace, Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian announced Wednesday in an email to staff viewed by Protocol. Soltero will leave his role effective July 15.

Keep Reading Show less

San Francisco-based game development tools provider Unity is laying off hundreds of employees, according to a report from Kotaku.

Keep Reading Show less

Niantic is reportedly cutting between 85 and 90 staff members, or 8% of its workforce.

Keep Reading Show less

Crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital has reportedly received a court order to liquidate after creditors sued the company over unpaid debts.

Keep Reading Show less
Bulletins