Lawsuits: Amazon Fired Women After They Got Pregnant

Jeff Bezos
AFP Photo/Alex Wong

Amazon has been hit with at least seven wrongful termination lawsuits, as seven female warehouse employees claim that the company fired them after they had gotten pregnant.

Seven women are suing Amazon for wrongful termination, alleging that the company fired them from its warehouse after they got pregnant, according to a report by CNET, adding that the firings had occurred within the time-span of the past four years.

One of the women suing Amazon, Beverly Rosales, told CNET that Amazon claims it fired her for taking too much time off of work, but Rosales says that her termination stemmed from her need to visit the restroom more often, which her manager counted as “time off task,” meaning the time taken off outside of the allotted breaks employees have throughout the workday.

Rosales says that her manager told her it would be “against the rules” to use the restroom more often, suggesting that extra restroom visits would accumulate and count toward time off task.

“When I had to go to the restroom, she literally stayed in that spot and waited for me to come back so she could talk to me about it,” said Rosales to CNET, “After that, I would just hold it towards the end of the day because I didn’t want to get fired.”

An Amazon spokeswoman said in a statement to CNET that the former employee’s claims are “absolutely not true.”

“It is absolutely not true that Amazon would fire any employee for being pregnant,” said the Amazon spokeswoman, “we are an equal opportunity employer — we work with our employees to accommodate their medical needs including pregnancy-related needs. We also support new parents by offering various maternity and parental leave benefits.”

Questionable practices involving restroom visits appear to be a frequent issue at Amazon. Last year, an undercover journalist and whistleblower reported that Amazon employees working in a warehouse in Staffordshire, United Kingdom were using what he referred to as a “toilet bottle” system, in which employees secretly urinated in a bottle rather than take trips to the restrooms.

The Amazon employees considered the locations of the restrooms to be too sporadically placed, making it difficult for them to get to a restroom and then back to work quickly enough, which they believed put them at risk of getting fired, according to Business Insider, which added that drivers of Amazon-affiliated courier companies also said they found bottles of urine left by other drivers.

In February, AJC reported that a former Amazon employee in Kentucky sued the company, alleging that he had been fired after Amazon discriminated against him for having Crohn’s disease, a digestive disorder that caused him to take frequent trips to the restroom.

Another Amazon employee contracted the flu while pregnant in 2017, according to CNET, adding that the employee was advised to take three days off of work to rest, because the doctor said that there were difficulties detecting her baby’s heartbeat.

The lawsuit alleges that an Amazon human resources manager said that the company “does not accept doctor’s notes,” and that the pregnant employee was fired four days later.

The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act does not allow for companies to discriminate against pregnant women.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo and on Instagram.

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