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Amazon Web Services Senior Manager Charlotte Newman has sued Amazon and three current and former execs for gender and racial discrimination, sexual assault and harassment, and for allegedly violating the Equal Pay Act.
Newman, a Black woman who has worked in the AWS division since 2017, alleges in the suit that former AWS Director Andres Maz sexually assaulted her by groping her under a table and pulling her hair. The suit also alleges that Maz sexually harassed Newman by propositioning her for sex, among other instances.
In the suit, Newman alleges that Amazon "de-leveled" her by hiring her at a less senior role than she was qualified for and then failing to promote her for more than a year. The "de-leveling" may have lost her millions of dollars, according to the allegations. The lawsuit was first reported by Recode, which also reported that Amazon's de-leveling practice was "not uncommon," especially for Black employees.
"In defiance of the antidiscrimination laws, Ms. Newman was paid significantly less than her white coworkers, particularly in valuable Amazon stock. If that were not bad enough, unlike her colleagues, Ms.Newman had to wait more than two and a half years for a promotion to the level at which she should have been hired in the first place, and at which level she had already been performing work for more than two and a half years," Newman's lawyers wrote in the suit.
"Once I joined and talked to other people about their experiences, I began to hear that there was a view that Black employees, other underrepresented employees, and women were more often down-leveled," Newman told Recode.
"Amazon works hard to foster a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture, and these allegations do not reflect those efforts or our values. We do not tolerate discrimination or harassment of any kind and thoroughly investigate all claims and take appropriate action. We are currently investigating the new allegations included in this lawsuit," an Amazon spokesperson wrote in a statement.
Anna Kramer is a reporter at Protocol (@ anna_c_kramer), where she helps write and produce Source Code, Protocol's daily newsletter. Prior to joining the team, she covered tech and small business for the San Francisco Chronicle and privacy for Bloomberg Law. She is a recent graduate of Brown University, where she studied International Relations and Arabic and wrote her senior thesis about surveillance tools and technological development in the Middle East.