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Amazon Sued for Transgender Discrimination
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Photo courtesy of WCPO.

Summary: A Kentucky couple claims they were harassed at an Amazon shipping facility. 

Amazon may have grown into the mega-giant retailer it is today thanks to its innovative customer service policies, but one new lawsuit claims that they’re actually regressive in the work force. According to TechCrunch, the company is now facing a lawsuit from two former married employees who said that Amazon allowed them to be harassed and mistreated because one of them was transgendered.


The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) filed the lawsuit on behalf of Allegra Schawe-Lane and Dane Lane. Schawe-Lane said that she was outed as transgender, and afterward faced “discrimination and harassment” by those she worked with at Amazon. She said that examples of hostility waged against her was when people referred to her using male pronouns and that people treated her weird when she used the female bathroom. She added that she was also sexually harassed and threatened with physical violence.

Besides being called “he” instead of “she”, Schawe-Lane said that managers and supervisors made derogatory comments such as “shemale,” “chick with a dick,” and “tranny.” She said that whenever she would use the restaurant co-workers would say things like “It’s in here right now” and she described in her lawsuit how people would try to peep into the stalls to see her genitalia.

Schawe-Lane said that her partner, Dane Lane, was also harassed at Amazon, and she said that he was once offered porn and sex toys.

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“Allegra and Dane endured severe bigotry and sexual harassment after their Amazon colleagues learned that Allegra is a transgender woman,” the TLDEF stated 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.”

Schawe-Lane and Lane are seeking punitive damages and want Amazon to implement policies that will protect transgender employees.

According to Gizmodo, the couple worked at an Amazon shipping facility in Hebron, Kentucky, from October 2014 to October 2015. Schawe-Lane said that she had documented proof of the harassment in the form of emails, and that she had complained to human resources about the hostile work environment to no avail.

“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,” Schawe-Lane said in a statement. “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.”

So far, Amazon has declined to publicly comment on the lawsuit, but New Now Next pointed out that bigotry does not appear to be tolerated at the company.  Its corporate headquarters has received high remarks for its progressiveness and Amazon Studios is responsible for the transgender TV show Transparent. 

What do you think of Schawe-Lane and Lane’s lawsuit? Let us know in the comments below.


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