The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) has filed a lawsuit against Amazon on behalf of two former employees who claim they faced cruel abuse at an Amazon shipping facility and received no help from human resources.
Allegra Schawe-Lane and her husband, Dane Lane, assert that they faced persistent abuse at an Amazon shipping facility in Hebron, Kentucky, from October 2014 to October 2015. The abuse started after the staff found out that Allegra is a transgender woman.
Managers, supervisors and co-workers alike intentionally referred to Allegra by male pronouns, as well as called her slurs like “chick with a dick,” “shemale” and “tranny prostitute.”
One co-worker in the suit allegedly sexually harassed Allegra and Dan multiple times, bringing them pornography and sex toys and asking to have sex with them. He also licked his lips while looking at Allegra’s groin and “gyrated his crotch” on Dane’s butt.
Other employees were “openly hostile” towards Allegra when she used the women’s restroom and spied on her in the bathroom stall, trying to see her genitalia.
Even though Allegra had a doctor’s note saying that she should avoid heavy lifting, the facility’s supervisors intentionally gave her more strenuous work than her fellow co-workers. They made her lift boxes full of books for entire shifts and refused to let her leave to go to the emergency room.
“My husband Dane and I were devoted to our jobs. In return, we were treated atrociously by our co-workers and our bosses, simply because I am a woman,” Allegra said in a statement issued by the TLDEF. “The trauma we withstood still impacts us negatively today, creating serious health problems and leaving us with no money to pay for the doctors we desperately need.”
Perhaps the worst part of the abuse was when the couple’s car brake lines were severed at the facility’s secure parking lot. After leaving work one day, they noticed their brakes did not work. A mechanic evaluated the car and found that the lines had been intentionally cut.
Throughout their time working at the warehouse, the couple made dozens of complaints to Amazon management and human resources in person, in written form and through Amazon’s corporate hotline. However, the company did not investigate or take action.
Amazon has yet to respond to the lawsuit.
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons