Amazon accused of ‘systemic’ racism

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A manager at Amazon.com Inc has sued the online retailer for discrimination saying it hires Black people for lower positions and promotes them more slowly than white workers.

The manager also claims that she has been subjected to harassment.

The lawsuit from Charlotte Newman, a business development head at Amazon Web Services who is Black, said the company suffers from a “systemic pattern of insurmountable discrimination,” despite its pledge to fight racism and statements of solidarity from Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos.

Seattle-based Amazon said it was investigating the claims.

The complaint was filed in Washington, D.C., federal court.

Newman, a Harvard Business School graduate and former adviser to U.S. Senator Cory Booker, said Amazon delayed by 2-1/2 years her rise to senior manager by hiring her in 2017 for a more junior role for which she was overqualified.

She also accused a male supervisor of using racial tropes by calling her “aggressive,” “too direct” and “just scary,” and another male co-worker of sexually harassing her and once pulling on her braids while saying, “You can leave this behind.”

Both men were also named as defendants, and according to the lawsuit the supervisor was required to undergo training while the co-worker was terminated. The co-worker’s lawyer could not immediately be identified.

Newman is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. She is represented by Douglas Wigdor, who also represented women suing the former movie producer Harvey Weinstein and Fox News over alleged harassment or discrimination.

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