Amazon faces lawsuit alleging discrimination against a transgender employee

Amazon is facing a lawsuit from two former employees that alleges the company harassed them and threatened them physically. The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) filed the lawsuit on behalf of the couple, Allegra Schawe-Lane and Dane Lane.

After Schawe-Lane was outed as transgender, she began experiencing “discrimination and harassment by Amazon employees, supervisors, and managers,” the lawsuit alleges. The discrimination and harassment, according to the lawsuit, entailed being intentionally referred to by male pronouns and titles “with the purpose and effect of humiliating” her, sexual harassment, threats of physical violence, “hostility” that made it hard for her to use the women’s bathroom, pay deductions and a lot of other really messed up stuff.

More specifically, people at Amazon, including managers and supervisors, allegedly made discriminatory and derogatory comments directed at her like “it,” “sir,” “he/she,” “chick with a dick,” “shemale,” “tranny”  and “tranny prostitute.”

In addition to what Schawe-Lane was subjected to, her partner faced retaliation, sexual harassment, disparaging comments from co-workers and a hostile work environment, according to the lawsuit. For example, one of Lane’s employees allegedly touched him in a sexual way, “gyrated his crotch” and offered him porn and sex toys.

“Allegra and Dane endured severe bigotry and sexual harassment after their Amazon colleagues learned that Allegra is a transgender woman,” the TLDEF wrote on its blog. “They were targeted with vicious slurs and threats. When they complained, they endured retaliation and were told that they were not allowed to make complaints in writing. While driving home one day from the secure Amazon parking lot, they found that the brakes on their car were not working correctly, and learned from their mechanic that the brake line was intentionally severed, putting the couple at significant risk of serious injury or death.”

The lawsuit, among other things, seeks for the court to order that Amazon implement policies, programs and training that ensure equal employment opportunities for people who are transgender, have transitioned genders or are undergoing a gender transition. The lawsuit also seeks compensation for both Schawe-Lane and Lane as a result of the losses they faced due to the “unlawful practices” at Amazon.

I have reached out to Amazon and will update this story if I hear back.