Amazon employees allege hostile work environment at Joliet warehouse
Some Illinois Amazon workers are accusing the company of creating a toxic and racially hostile work environment and then retaliating against employees who complain.
Tori Davis is one of 26 employees that claims Black workers have been victim to a work environment at the Joliet warehouse that is unsafe and riddled with racist conduct, including death threats written on bathroom walls.
When employees requested to leave the building after finding the messages, they say management told them they could leave but would not be paid.
“It’s more scary than hurtful because when you don’t know who targeted you and you still have to be in the same environment with no further security measures, it makes you nervous,” said Davis at a news conference Wednesday.
The complaint alleges that Amazon painted over the threats before law enforcement could investigate, including a third piece of graffiti in the men’s bathroom that employees couldn’t photograph before company officials removed it.
Davis said she was fired this month after she told managers she would take legal action if the company didn’t address complaints of racism. She is now appealing her termination.
“There is no sign more serious and more terrifying than a death threat in a workplace where white workers are allowed to wear confederate flag outfits with impunity,” said lawyer Tamara Holder, who is representing the group.
Holder said they are filing complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and if Amazon fails to respond, a class action lawsuit will likely follow.
Amazon also faced complaints of racism from employees at its Gage Park warehouse. Employees at that location walked out in May alleging management was harassing employees of color and wrongfully dismissed two Black workers.
Amazon has dozens of facilities throughout Illinois.
Amazon issued a statement to The Center Square regarding the complaints.
“Amazon works hard to protect our employees from any form of discrimination and to provide an environment where employees feel safe. Hate or racism have no place in our society and are certainly not tolerated by Amazon,” said spokesman Richard Rocha.
Illinois Radio Network