Every day in America, people are pushing back against racism. Remarkably, much of this corrective action has been aimed at one of the country’s most recognizable corporate names. Amazon, the online retailer, has repeatedly been named in lawsuits alleging workplace discrimination, and last week we filed a claim on behalf of a warehouse worker at the company’s East Windsor, New Jersey fulfillment facility, citing both racial discrimination and disability discrimination.
The case was filed on behalf of Denard Norton of East Orange who cites a long list of harassing and discriminatory behavior on the part of Amazon company managers. Mr. Norton has lodged 30 complaints on the company’s ethics hotline regarding repeated use of racial slurs against him, refusal to accommodate his need to wear medically prescribed eyeglasses for his glaucoma despite a note from his physician confirming the need, and vandalization of his car in the company parking lot. As a result of all of these actions Mr. Norton indicates that he feels unsafe at work, and that resulted in his claim under New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination.
In addition to citing a hostile work environment due to race and a failure to provide accommodation due to a disability, the lawsuit claims that Mr. Norton was also retaliated against for having complained about the treatment that he has consistently faced since the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others. He has worked at the fulfillment facility for over three years, but his most concerning struggles in the workplace have only been occurring over the last several months.
As cited in the lawsuit, Mr. Norton’s concerns began in February, when he suffered an injury and reported it to a supervisor whose refusal to report what had happened for several hours led to treatment being delayed. In May he was ordered to remove special glasses that he was wearing on doctor’s orders following a glaucoma diagnosis, despite having provided a doctor’s note. He was required to bring in a second note before being allowed to wear the protective glasses. An in the last two months he has repeatedly been subjected to the use of racial epithets by two of his supervisors, as well as denial of promotions in favor of white candidates and denial of vacation requests, both of which he has interpreted as retaliation for his complaints to the company about his harassment.
In all, the suit names three different supervisor — Jonathan Biggs, David Fritz and Zouhair Bennani — as well as unnamed defendants who were also involved in his embarrassment. He is seeking damages for his humiliation, emotional and physical injuries, reputational injuries and other damages he has suffered.
If you believe that you have been the victim of discrimination in the workplace due to your race and/or disability, you need the guidance of an experienced and knowledgeable employment attorney. To speak with one of our compassionate lawyers, contact us today to set up a time for a consultation.