Charlotte Newman, a Black senior-level manager at Amazon, is suing the company for alleged race and gender discrimination, harassment, and pay equity violations. Newman said her supervisor, Steven Block, told her she was "too direct" and "scary," while a senior employee pulled her hair and groped her. Block is still employed at Amazon, but the senior coworker was terminated four months after Newman's initial complaint in June 2020.
- Newman joined Amazon in 2017 as a public policy manager, a “level 6” position. She had applied for a senior manager role, which is a “level 7” position.
- Newman alleges she had to wait 2.5 years to be promoted to “the level at which she should have been hired in the first place.” This resulted in her receiving less compensation than her colleagues.
- The lawsuit accuses Amazon of routinely “de-leveling” minority employees.“De-leveling” is when a company hires an employee at a level below the job they applied for or will be performing.
- Amazon said it was investigating the allegations and that it "works hard to foster a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture."
- Last month, Recode published a report in which at least a dozen current and former minority Amazon corporate employees spoke out against the bias they've faced.
- A lack of diversity amongst corporate employees is a common criticism levied against tech giants. Last year, several pledged to increase diversity amongst their executive teams following the George Floyd protests.