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Amazon Sued for Transgender Discrimination

Allegra Schawe-Lane and Dane Lane both worked for Amazon in Kentucky. Ms. Schawe-Lane is a transgender woman. She has claimed that once her co-workers learned she was transgender, she was subjected to “discrimination and harassment by Amazon employees, supervisors, and managers.” Specifically, she was referred to as “it,” “sir,” “he/she,” “chick with a dick,” “shemale,” “tranny” and “tranny prostitute.” Physical threats and hostility also created a hostile work environment.

Her husband was also purportedly subjected to harassment and disparaging comments from co-workers about their sex life. One employee allegedly touched him in a sexual way, “gyrated his crotch” and offered him porn and sex toys. Both of them complained to supervisors and alleged that they were subjected to retaliation in response to those complaints. Moreover, no change in the harassment occurred after their complaints. They allege that they were told not to put their complaints in writing. At one point, the brake lines in their car were intentionally severed; they alleged that an Amazon employee was the culprit. The couple quit their employment.

The couple is being represented by The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, a national transgender-rights organization. Amazon has a history of championing transgender rights and has in fact intervened to support other court cases. It also produces a well-known show with a transgender protagonist. The EEOC investigated the case and found some evidence to substantiate the claims made. Amazon has stated that it does not comment on active litigation.