A court has dismissed a lawsuit by an Amazon Web Services (AWS) employee that claimed racial and sexual discrimination.

Jamie Carroll alleged that she was not offered the same travel and special IT projects as Caucasian male colleagues.

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– Sebastian Moss

The African American 'rack decom datatech technician' (responsible for processing and facilitating legacy data center equipment) said that a colleague repeatedly touched her hair, despite being asked to stop.

Carroll's managers were allegedly told about the incidents, but did not intervene. They then scheduled her to work with the person that made her feel uncomfortable.

She requested to move to a different team, but claims that her new manager warned her that if she continued to complain of racial discrimination or disparate treatment, she would be terminated.

Carroll also said that she was placed on 'Pivot,' essentially a performance improvement plan, despite decommissioning more racks than white male colleagues, and said that the company failed to follow its official process, including 1:1 meetings.

The case was dismissed this month, but the allegations were not disputed.

Instead, US District Judge Rossie D. Alston, Jr. found that it was speculation that the plaintiff's race or sex were a motivating factor in the defendant’s conduct.

"Plaintiff’s allegations regarding her supervisor’s critiques of her hair, although obviously unwelcomed and provocative, do not rise to the level of race-based or sex-based harassment that is protected under Title VII," Judge Alston states.

Alston added that the incidents were "provocative and potentially offensive," but "not sufficiently severe or pervasive" to clear the high bar for workplace harassment under Title VII.

The hair touching was "troubling and obviously not the best management of the workplace environment," but there was not enough detail on the frequency and severity to support the case.

As for being held to a higher standard and losing out on placements, the judge said that: "Courts have held that alleged nitpicking, micromanaging, unfavorable job assignments, and pretextual write-ups are insufficient to create a hostile work environment."

Carroll can still file a motion to amend with an amended complaint, which could reopen the case.

The allegations come a year after five female Amazon employees separately sued the company over claims of discrimination.

That same month, more than 550 Amazon Web Services staffers signed a petition alleging “an underlying culture of systemic discrimination, harassment, bullying, and bias against women and under-represented groups.”

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