According to a recently filed lawsuit, a married couple faced persistent, cruel and grotesque abuse at an Amazon shipping facility, and human resources did nothing to help.
The Transgender Legal Defence & Education Fund (TLDEF) has filed a lawsuit on behalf of two former employees who allege that they faced sexual harassment and discrimination during their time at the company. Allegra Schawe-Lane and her husband, Dane Lane, claim that they were treated cruelly at a Amazon shipping facility in Hebron, Kentucky, from October 2014 to October 2015. The abuse allegedly began once the staff learned that Allegra is a transgender woman. The couple claim they made dozens of complaints to Amazon management and human resources in person, in written form, and through Amazon’s corporate hotline — but the company did not investigate or take action.
According to the suit, managers, supervisors and co-workers intentially referred to Allegra by male pronouns and called her slurs such as “it”, “chick with a dick”, “shemale”, “Dane’s boyfriend”, and “tranny prostitute”.
Allegedly one co-worker named in the suit sexually harassed both Allegra and Dane on multiple occasions. According to the suit, the co-worker brought both of them pornography and sex toys and propositioned both of them for sex, licked his lips while looking at Allegra’s groin, and “gyrated his crotch” on Dane’s butt.
The suit states that employees were “openly hostile” about Allegra using the women’s bathroom and tried to spy on her in the bathroom stall in what seemed like an attempt to see her genitalia.
It also claims that Allegra’s superiors intentionally gave her more strenuous work than her fellow co-workers — including tasks that required her to lift boxes full of books for entire shifts, even though she had a doctor’s note saying she should avoid heavy lifting — and refused to let her leave to go to the emergency room.
“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,” Allegra said in a statement issued by the TLDEF. “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.”
The couple also believe their car brake lines were severed in the Amazon secure parking lot — they noticed their brakes didn’t work after leaving work and a mechanic observed that the lines had been intentionally cut.
Amazon has not responded to Gizmodo’s request for comment.