Amazon Retaliation against You

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Has Amazon retaliated against you?

Do you feel that Amazon retaliated against you?

Were you fired, demoted, or otherwise punished for exercising your rights or complaining about illegal or dangerous conditions?

If so, here are some things you need to know about retaliation law.

Is retaliation illegal?


As the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) explains,

Each of the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws prohibits retaliation and related conduct: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act (Rehabilitation Act), the Equal Pay Act (EPA), and Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).

Understanding “At Will” Employment

As the NCSL explains,

Employment relationships are presumed to be “at-will” in all U.S. states except Montana. The U.S. is one of a handful of countries where employment is predominantly at-will.

About 74% of US workers are considered at-will workers. Employment contracts and job offers often use the expression “at-will” to make this clear.

As the NCSL notes,

At-will means that an employer can terminate an employee at any time for any reason, except an illegal one, or for no reason without incurring legal liability. Likewise, an employee is free to leave a job at any time for any or no reason with no adverse legal consequences.
At-will also means that an employer can change the terms of the employment relationship with no notice and no consequences. For example, an employer can alter wages, terminate benefits, or reduce paid time off.
Thus, simply firing someone for “no reason” isn’t necessarily wrongful termination or illegal retaliation.
However, firing someone, or otherwise imposing negative consequences for engaging in protected activity, can be considered illegal retaliation.

What does “retaliation” mean?

As the EEOC explains,
The EEO laws prohibit punishing job applicants or employees for asserting their rights to be free from employment discrimination including harassment. Asserting these EEO rights is called “protected activity,” and it can take many forms. For example, it is unlawful to retaliate against applicants or employees for:

  • filing or being a witness in an EEO charge, complaint, investigation, or lawsuit
  • communicating with a supervisor or manager about employment discrimination, including harassment
  • answering questions during an employer investigation of alleged harassment
  • refusing to follow orders that would result in discrimination
  • resisting sexual advances, or intervening to protect others
  • requesting accommodation of a disability or for a religious practice
  • asking managers or co-workers about salary information to uncover potentially discriminatory wages.

Is my employer prohibited from firing me if I made an EEO complaint?
As the EEOC explains,

Engaging in EEO activity, however, does not shield an employee from all discipline or discharge. Employers are free to discipline or terminate workers if motivated by non-retaliatory and non-discriminatory reasons that would otherwise result in such consequences. However, an employer is not allowed to do anything in response to EEO activity that would discourage someone from resisting or complaining about future discrimination.

For example, as the EEOC explains,

Neither participation nor opposition give permission to an employee to neglect job duties, violate employer rules, or do anything else that would otherwise result in consequences for poor performance evaluations or misconduct. Even though the anti-retaliation laws are very broad, employers remain free to discipline or terminate employees for poor performance or improper behavior, even if the employee made an EEO complaint. Whether an employer’s action was motivated by legitimate reasons or retaliation will depend on the facts of the case.

Therefore, if you feel you’re being retaliated against, it’s important to keep good records that can help your lawyer represent you effectively if you decide to make a claim.

For example, if you had years of positive employment reviews, but suddenly got a bad one after filing an EEO complaint, that can help prove that the bad review was retaliatory.

What are different forms of retaliation?
Illegal retaliation can include firing and many other types of negative actions by an employer in response to legally protected activity by an employee.
The EEOC provides the following examples:
it could be retaliation if an employer acts because of the employee’s EEO activity to:

  • reprimand the employee or give a performance evaluation that is lower than it should be;
  • transfer the employee to a less desirable position;
  • engage in verbal or physical abuse;
  • threaten to make, or actually make reports to authorities (such as reporting immigration status or contacting the police);
  • increase scrutiny;
  • spread false rumors, treat a family member negatively (for example, cancel a contract with the person’s spouse); or
  • make the person’s work more difficult (for example, punishing an employee for an EEO complaint by purposefully changing his work schedule to conflict with family responsibilities).

Who is protected against retaliation?

Laws against retaliation protect a wide range of worker. As the EEOC explains,
The protections against retaliation apply to all employees of any employer, employment agency, or labor organization covered by the EEO laws. This includes applicants, current employees (full-time, part-time, probationary, seasonal, and temporary), and former employees. For example, a supervisor cannot refuse to hire an applicant because of his EEO complaint against a prior employer, or give a false negative job reference to punish a former employee for making an EEO complaint.
These protections apply regardless of an applicant or employee’s citizenship or work authorization status, because the EEO laws protect applicants and employees regardless of citizenship or work authorization.

Retaliation at Amazon

As GeekWire reported,

A former Amazon employee is suing the company, claiming she was wrongfully terminated after taking time off to recover from COVID-19-like symptoms and sounding the alarm about safety concerns inside the warehouse where she worked.

According to the Seattle Times,

Amazon has settled a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board that it wrongfully terminated two Seattle office employees, Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa, in retaliation for their advocacy on behalf of warehouse workers at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As CNBC reported,
Amazon recently settled with Jonathan Bailey, an Amazon employee who led a walkout over Covid-19 concerns at a warehouse in Queens, New York, and later accused the company of violating federal labor law when it interrogated him following the walkout, according to The New York Times.
In addition,
Amazon also reached a settlement with Courtney Bowden, a warehouse worker in Pennsylvania, who alleged she was wrongfully terminated after advocating for sick pay for part-time workers, NBC News reported.
What can you do if Amazon retaliated against you?

If you believe you were retaliated against by Amazon, call attorney Cj Rosenbaum at 212-256-1109, text 212-256-8492, or email You can also submit a summary of your situation online .

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