A total of seven women who once worked for Amazon have separately accused the online retail giant of pregnancy discrimination and wrongful termination.
The women, who are from several different states, each alleged that Amazon forced them out of their warehouse jobs because they got pregnant. Amazon denies the allegations and has suggested that these women were fired for good cause, including the violation of workplace rules.
Some of the women have already settled with Amazon for an unspecified amount, as it appears that their agreement with Amazon is confidential.
At issue in one case was the right of a pregnant woman to take additional bathroom breaks. When she asked for additional time to take extra trips to the bathroom due to her pregnancy, her managers informed her that doing so would violate standard company policies.
The woman claims her supervisors would watch her closely and admonish her when she had to take extra breaks. Eventually, at the time the company terminated the woman’s employment, it accused her of taking excessive time off.
Amazon has notoriously tough policies when it comes to allowing warehouse employees and others to use the bathroom. Some employees have even reportedly had to just hold their urge or use a bottle so that they could meet the company’s productivity quotas.
Employers in the Denver area do have some leeway when it comes to establishing their policies about breaks. However, such policies cannot be use as a way to engage in or condone unlawful discrimination.
Moreover, these policies may not be used to deprive workers accommodations they are allowed by law. If Colorado employers violate this principle, employees may be entitled to compensation.