Amazon senior manager suing company in DC district court for alleged race, gender discrimination

A senior manager at Amazon has filed a lawsuit in D.C. district court against Amazon, alleging race and gender discrimination against her and sexual harassment and assault by a former Amazon executive. 

Charlotte Newman is a Black senior manager at Amazon who has been with the company since January 2017. She previously worked as a top advisor to Sen. Cory Booker and multiple members of the House of Representatives. 

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"They have made 'customer obsession' their top leadership principle," the preliminary statement of the lawsuit reads. "Driven by profits and greed, Amazon and Mr. Bezos are not, however, 'employee-obsessed' in the same way. Their practices when it comes to hiring and promoting Black people and other underrepresented minorities to high-level positions (and paying them commensurately) perpetuate decades-old patterns of discrimination."

According to the lawsuit, Amazon hired Newman at a Level 6 position, Public Policy Manager, despite the fact that she had applied and was qualified for a Level 7 position, Senior Manager. Newman was assigned the work of a Senior Manager-level employee while being paid for a lower position.

"Many of Ms. Newman’s colleagues observed a consistent practice of paying Black employees less than similarly situated white employees, and a near-total lack of Black representation in and very few women in the upper echelons of the group’s leadership," the lawsuit states.

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The lawsuit says Newman reported her concerns about the impact of her race and gender on her employment to Amazon multiple times, including filing a written complaint about sexual assault and harassment committed against her by a senior male employee and filing an administrative complaint with the Washington, D.C. Office of Human Rights.

The lawsuit also details Newman's claims of sexual assault and harassment by a senior coworker.

According to the document, Andres Maz, Newman and a third party went to dinner together in D.C. in January 2018 where Maz put his hand under the table, pressing on Newman's lap and grabbing her upper thigh. He later invited her home with him.

The lawsuit also says that months later, Maz is also accused of pulling on Newman's hair, which was in braids at the time, telling her to "stay or leave her hair behind."

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Maz was terminated in October 2020, four months after Newman filed a written complaint against him. However, the lawsuit says his firing did not remedy Newman's situation.

"The termination of Mr. Maz did not solve or wipe away the effects of his harassment on Ms. Newman," the lawsuit states. "Nor has the Company taken any steps to remedy the professional or financial effects of the opaque and subjective processes that kept her and other Black and female employees at lower levels, with decreased compensation, and out of upper management."

Newman is seeking an award of damages for emotional distress, lost wages, punitive damages and more, the amount of which will be determined at trial.