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EEOC complaint alleges religious discrimination at Amazon site

The workers in Amazon's facilities throughout North America are largely invisible to online shoppers in California. A new complaint received by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reveals that some workers allegedly face a hostile atmosphere on the job. The workers' rights group Muslim Advocates filed the complaint on behalf of three Muslim Somali women who claim to have suffered religious discrimination and retaliation.

According to the complaint, Amazon management at the facility disapproved of the three women taking time for prayers. The women said that praying would result in write-ups that could eventually lead to their termination. The women also alleged that management favored white workers with promotions and easier work duties while discriminating against Somali employees. When the women approached human resources with their complaints about unfair disciplinary write-ups, the company's investigation allegedly failed to identify any evidence to support their claims. One woman said that management retaliated against her for complaining with an additional write-up.

A representative from Amazon declined to provide a statement specifically addressing the religious discrimination complaint. The representative, however, highlighted the company's policy that required fair treatment for all employees and break time for prayer.

A formal complaint to the EEOC could serve as a precursor to legal action if the commission and employer fail to reach a settlement. A person concerned about employment discrimination might contact an attorney before or during the process of making a complaint. An attorney may provide information about workplace rights and advise the person about how to approach management with a complaint. Legal support might strengthen a person's position when seeking a settlement for mistreatment or harassment.

Source: Gizmodo, "Three Muslim Amazon Workers Allege They Were Unfairly Punished for Raising Workplace Discrimination Concerns", Catie Keck, May 8, 2019

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