Five female current and former Amazon employees have separately sued the company over claims of discrimination.

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

AWS Logo
– Sebastian Moss

The five suits cover workers both at Amazon e-commerce and AWS cloud. In one, Black human resources employee Pearl Thomas alleges she was punished for accusing her manager of using the n-word after believing he had ended a call with her.

Fellow Black human resources staffer Tiffany Gordwin claims she lost out on several promotions after complaining about racial bias by a White supervisor.

AWS executive Cindy Warner alleges that her manager made homophobic comments, and said that she was fired in retaliation, possibly due to her hiring a lawyer.

“We are conducting thorough investigations for each of these unrelated cases, as we do with any reported incidents, and we have found no evidence to support the allegations," Amazon spokesperson Jaci Anderson said in a statement.

But the company said this Friday it had opened a wider investigation into claims of discrimination at AWS, following a petition signed by more than 550 employees.

The petition said that Amazon's discrimination investigation process is “not fair, objective or transparent," and is “set up to protect the company and the status quo, rather than the employees filing the complaints."

Seen by The Washington Post, the petition also references a lengthy 2020 LinkedIn post "Why I Left AWS."

In the widely shared piece, former employee Laudon Williams, claims that "I have personally heard an L8 leader using homophobic language."

She added: "There are managers that I know have had multiple HR complaints against them substantiated and are still with the company."

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