Kentucky Man, Transgender Wife Sue Amazon for Workplace Discrimination

The couple allege harassment and threats of physical abuse

Schawe-Lane, who is transgender, said that she applied to work at Amazon because of its reputation as LGBTQ-friendly.

Her husband added: 'My wife Allegra and I could never have imagined the pain and heartache we would experience at Amazon. According to the suit, the co-worker brought both of them pornography and sex toys and propositioned both of them for sex, licked his lips while looking at Allegra's groin, and "gyrated his crotch" on Dane's butt. Coworkers threatened to beat them up.

The suit states that employees were "openly hostile" about Allegra using the women's bathroom and tried to spy on her in the bathroom stall in what seemed like an attempt to see her genitalia.

After her brakes were cut, Schawe-Lane and her husband were transferred to a different warehouse but, they maintain, the abuse continued.

In addition to damages, the couple is asking the court to force Amazon to put in place programs and policies that would prevent the harassment they allegedly faced during the time working for the company.

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'The trauma we withstood still impacts us negatively today, creating serious health problems and leaving us with no money to pay for the doctors we desperately need, ' said Schawe-Lane in a CrowdJustice campaign.

In August of 2015, the brake lines in their vehicle were cut while they were working. A mechanic told them they had been intentionally cut.

Each incident was reported to Amazon HR but, according to the suit, they were not investigated-and resulted in even more discrimination: They were given less desirable tasks, not allowed to take breaks together, and Allegra was denied permission to get medical treatment. Fearing for their lives at this point, they quit. Schawe-Lane was harassed in restrooms and told her visits were being monitored, so she stopped going to the bathroom at work, an action that led to bladder and kidney infections. "Every day, I'd wish it was "Candid Camera" and someone would pop out and say it was all a joke".

They filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which ruled their accusations were valid. The EEOC said that the couple had evidence to back at least some of their allegations and grounds for a lawsuit. The couple is now moving ahead with a civil suit, and are being represented by the Transgender Legal and Educational Defense Fund. Two years ago, TLDEF honored Amazon with a Freedom Award for its television series Transparent. "We are filing this lawsuit to ensure that no other transgender person or their spouse ever face such job discrimination at Amazon in the future".

Allegra Schawe-Lane and her husband, Dane Lane, allege they were discriminated against from October 2014 to October 2015, when they were "constructively discharged", according to court documents.


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