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**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**

Date: October 9, 2018

Media Contact: mediacenter@freeandfairmarketsinitiative.org 

FREE & FAIR MARKETS INITIATIVE RELEASES NEW REPORT DETAILING ALARMING LAWSUITS FILED BY WOMEN WHO WORKED AT AMAZON

“Amazon’s Unfair Deal of The Day” Shows That Employment Lawsuits Filed By Women Continue To Multiply And That The Tech Giant Remains A Boys’ Club 

The Free & Fair Markets Initiative (FFMI) released a new report today that focuses on how Amazon is not living up to its own stated principles of equality and inclusion and has failed female employees in several critical areas. The report finds that civil employment lawsuits filed by women continue to grow in number, and details several of these troubling cases. The report also finds that top leadership roles at Amazon are overwhelmingly occupied by men and oppressive workplace policies create a workplace environment that keeps women at the margins.

“The lawsuits filed by courageous female employees and the troubling details of their stories reveal a clear culture of bias and inequality at Amazon,” said Gloria Colazo, Regional Director of the Ecuadorian Southern California American Chamber of Commerce and FFMI steering committee member. “The fact that 78% of Amazon’s senior roles are filled by men adds insult to injury, and proves that Amazon says one thing publicly and does the opposite when it comes to diversity and gender-equality.”

In one lawsuit, Christy Farr, a former Amazon Human Resources Assistant from Kentucky was terminated after going on medical leave for surgery. In court documents, it was revealed that her supervisor exaggerated and misclassified events in order to fire Farr. “I know their termination was a direct result of my FMLA leave. I was working on my computer for Amazon up until they came for me to go to surgery. My immediate supervisor was hostile and indifferent to me when I returned to work.”

In a different suit, Linda Donelson who worked for Amazon in Florida, was terminated following an FMLA leave that she took for a serious medical condition. She was told her leave resulted in “negative hours,” prompting her firing. Later she was told it was a coding error that would be fixed. When she was told to check back after the correction was made, she tried to return to work only to be told that her termination would stand because she had already been fired. “There is no doubt in my mind that Amazon created hurdles and mismanaged my FMLA leave and then terminated me in an ambush fashion, all so that Amazon could weed me out as an ‘undesirable’ candidate under concocted circumstances,” Donelson said.

The report, “Amazon’s Unfair Deal of The Day: Undercutting women. And their wages,” presents the first public analysis scrutinizing how the tech giant’s employment practices negatively impact women.

Other key findings of the report include:

  • A staggering 78% of senior leadership roles are occupied by men – and administrative support is the only division where women represent a majority of employees at Amazon.
  • Of the more than 13,000 first and mid-level officials and managers, only about 3,000 are women – a rate of just 23%.
  • In 2018, Amazon received a “C” on the Gender Pay Scorecard put out by a one of their shareholders and a leading investment firm, Baldwin Brothers.

The report concludes by offering three recommendations for lawmakers, regulators and Amazon itself.

  • FFMI urges lawmakers to call on Amazon’s board to commit to clearly defined benchmarks of progress over the next five years. If lawmakers are willing to give billions in corporate welfare to the third-richest company in the world, they must demand transparency to determine if their values mirror that of the public at large.
  • We advise regulators and agencies to take a close look at conditions in Amazon’s warehouses and fulfilment centers. The horror stories of current and former warehouse workers point to potential employer violations that regulators and responsible agencies must address.
  • FFMI encourages Amazon to welcome an independent, transparent review of its employment practices. Instead of rolling out more symbolic affinity groups, Amazon should identify specific measures it can take to bring its workplace into the 21st century.

A full copy of the report can be found here.

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ABOUT THE FREE AND FAIR MARKETS INITIATIVE

The Free & Fair Markets Initiative (FFMI) is a non-profit coalition of businesses, consumer advocacy groups, workers and community activists committed to scrutinizing and highlighting emerging market trends that are stifling competition and innovation, influencing federal and local government spending, putting consumer data in harm’s way and limiting consumer choice. For a list of members, please visit https://freeandfairmarketsinitiative.org/about-us/members/. For more information on the Free & Fair Markets Initiative, please visit https://freeandfairmarketsinitiative.org.