New York says Amazon won’t accommodate pregnant and disabled workers

The New York State Division of Human Rights has filed a complaint against Amazon for failing to comply with reasonable changes requested by employees who were pregnant or disabled. a Wednesday press release from Governor Kathy Hochul.

Even in cases where the company agreed that employees should be taken care of, the complaint alleges that managers would still force them to do work they shouldn’t. According to an example mentioned in the press release, a pregnant employee filed a request to avoid strenuous activity, especially lifting boxes over 25 pounds. Amazon approved the request, but the employee’s manager reportedly refused to abide by the property and Amazon did not intervene despite internal complaints. The press release says the employee was ultimately injured and had to take unpaid leave after Amazon failed to accommodate the injury.

There are also reports of employees who have declined their housing requests. In another example shared by Hochul, Amazon’s in-house housing consultant advised an employee to adjust their schedule because of a disability affecting their sleep schedule. When the manager refused to change the employee’s roster (despite the fact that the employee had already swapped shifts with another colleague to make things work), the housing consultant is said to have changed their recommendation, saying there was not enough medical documentation to approve the request. According to the release, the consultant had received documentation before approving the request the first time.

Amazon did not immediately respond The edgerequest for comment on the allegations.

Now that the complaint has been filed, the New York State Division of Human Rights will investigate whether there is a likely reason to hold a hearing. Depending on the outcome, Amazon may need to “end its discriminatory behavior” and implement “non-discriminatory policies” around reasonable requests for housing, as well as training on human rights laws. The company may also face civil fines and penalties.

if CNBC NotesAmazon has had lawsuits over pregnancy discrimination before — some plaintiffs even said they were fired after failing to meet their productivity goals without housing. Six US senators have also asked the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to investigate the company for pregnancy discrimination.

Yet Amazon has previously successfully dismissed similar claims. In 2021, New York Attorney General Letitia James sued Amazon for failing to keep its warehouse workers safe enough during the pandemic. Earlier this month the suit was: rejected by an appeals court