The fact that five more women sued tech giant Amazon for discrimination and harassment should not surprise anyone. This type of boorish and illegal behavior continues to happen today even though we may think our workplaces have obliterated and stymied these actions.
Too often we learn about co-workers, supervisors and executives who harass, belittle, bully and assault colleagues and subordinates in the workplace. And along the way, we look at what’s behind the curtain to observe a corporation that accepts such behavior, turning the other way and even protecting those committing the discrimination and harassment.
Advocate for yourself
In the latest and separate lawsuits filed on May 19, five women allege gender and racial discrimination. The women, ranging in age from 23 to 64, worked in various roles in different departments from warehouse management to corporate. Each claim that their white managers retaliated against them for their complaints regarding discrimination and sexual harassment. Two of the female plaintiffs are Black. The others are Asian American, Latina and white.
If you face discrimination and harassment in the workplace, please be proactive and take these crucial steps:
- Maintain detailed narratives and records. Record the dates, times and locations of the incidents. And, more importantly, write down descriptions of what occurred and include the names of witnesses. Make sure to do this in either a personal notebook or your home computer. Do not record any of this information on a workplace device.
- Save and keep all emails, texts and social media posts with information that targets and attacks you. These messages lead back to the harasser.
- Have a firm understanding of the sexual harassment and discrimination policies of your employer. The company likely has an employer’s handbook. Please carefully review it and gain supporting knowledge.
- Contact your manager and the human resources (HR) department to report the incidents. However, if your manager is the perpetrator, go to HR. It may be difficult to even trust HR, which, typically, supports the company over its employees. Then find a trusted confidante.
Amazon has not had the best record when it comes to stamping out workplace discrimination and harassment. The recent lawsuits bring to mind legal action from March in which a female Black Amazon employee claimed that the company paid her and other Black employees less money than their white co-workers.
If you are a victim, it is important to advocate for yourself.