More than two dozen Amazon employees allege the company failed to adequately respond to racist death threats against black employees at its MDW2 facility in Joliet, Illinois, and retaliated against an employee who spoke out, according to a report of the Chicago Tribune (through Engadget). The 26 employees reportedly filed complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
In late May, workers said they had found messages that read “[n-word]dies” and “fuck this one [n-words] at MDW2 “written on the bathroom walls in the facility, according to the advocacy group Warehouse workers for justice. A day or two later, according to a report from a local point of sale Herald-Newsemployees learned that someone anonymously called the facility with threats against black workers.
Employees say additional things also made the workplace hostile. According to the StandEmployees claim Amazon allowed employees to wear clothing decorated with the Confederate flag, which the Anti-Defamation League classifies as a hate symbol. Herald-NewsThe story also quotes Marcos Ceniceros, executive director of Warehouse Workers for Justice, as saying there had recently been swastika graffiti and anti-Semitic posts on MDW2.
Warehouse Workers for Justice says that after the threats against employees, Amazon said they could take voluntary leave if they felt uncomfortable going to work. However, as Tori Davis, a former employee, points out, that’s not a real choice for workers who need the income. Speaking with the Standshe said, “We had to make a choice whether to stay with the first and make money and pay our bills, or whether we go home and be safe.”
Davis claims Amazon fired her after threatening legal action if the company did not step in to protect her and her colleagues, according to the report. Stand. Richard Rocha, an Amazon spokesperson, told the Stand that the company “works hard to protect our employees from discrimination of any kind and to provide an environment where employees feel safe.” However, Rocha did not respond to the point of sale’s requests for comment on Davis’s allegations or why it fired her, nor did the company immediately respond. The edge‘s request for comment.
Amazon isn’t the only company accused of failing to stop racism in some of its facilities. Tesla has faced multiple lawsuits from employees over its factory in Fremont, California, and has reportedly paid millions in settlements related to racial discrimination at the factory. The automaker is under investigation by the EEOC.