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A Former Amazon Corporate Employee Claims She Was a Victim of ‘Draconian Employment’ Conditions

A former Amazon employee is suing the e-commerce giant, alleging that the company failed to provide her with reasonable accommodations for disabilities resulting from the impacts of long-Covid symptoms.

Plaintiff Brittany Hope previously worked as a brand manager for The Drop, Amazon’s fashion line, a role that she was promoted to in December 2019. In a complaint filed Monday in a U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York, Hope claimed that Amazon refused to accept doctors’ notes that supported the need for an extended period of leave after contracting Covid-19 early on in the pandemic.

Amazon ultimately fired Hope “when her struggles with long Covid made it challenging for her to be always on call by phone, email and text,” the complaint alleges. Hope also said that Amazon billed her $12,000 for a “purported salary overpayment” and claimed that she abandoned her job.

As an office employee at Amazon, Hope claims in the suit that she was “subjected to the same draconian employment policies” that had previously been documented among Amazon’s warehouse staff in a New York Times article from 2021. According to this article, Amazon warehouse employees were often subjected to intense monitoring program and disciplined for unexcused pauses in work.

“Given that this matter was recently filed, we’re not in a position to comment on the case at this time,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a comment.

According to the suit, Hope alleges she had difficulties attempting to file for medical leave and was ultimately terminated for job abandonment while she was on leave.

The suit marks the latest example of Amazon employees defending their rights as workers.

Last month, employees at an Amazon warehouse on New York’s Staten Island officially formed a union, becoming the first Amazon group to do so. According the union’s website, the group proposed eight immediate changes that aim to improve the lives of all associates including a 7.5% inflation adjustment on associate wages, ending the overtime cap on part-time and flex associates, and sending workers home with pay when injured on the job instead of having them use their personal PTO.

This week, however, employees at a second Amazon warehouse on New York’s Staten Island voted against forming a union.

Amazon last week reported a $3.8 billion net loss in the first quarter, compared to a net income of $8.1 billion in the same period last year. Amazon said that its first quarter performance includes a pre-tax valuation loss of $7.6 billion due to its investment in electric car company Rivian Automotive, resulting in the net loss.

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy also said that the war in Ukraine and inflation and supply chain pressures have hindered its business.

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