A housekeeper who said she had worked at Jeff Bezos’ Seattle-area home for nearly three years said she was subjected to racism and retaliation from members of his personal staff and was unable to take a legally-needed break. and claims that he did not get enough breaks.Access to the restroom at work.
In her claim, housekeepers were regularly forced to exit through the laundry room window, run along an exterior path, and pass through the machine room to access the bathrooms used by the groundskeepers. rice field. There, except to clean.
The allegations are part of a lawsuit filed on Tuesday on behalf of housekeeper Mercedes Wedder, which said Bezos and Zefram, two entities over which the Amazon founder manages his personal investments and fortune. LLC and Northwestern LLC.
Attorneys representing Northwestern LLC have categorically denied the allegations.
“We have investigated these allegations, and we defend them without merit,” said Harry Korrell, attorney at Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, in an email.
A lawsuit filed in Seattle’s King County Superior Court identifies Wedaa as a housekeeper who has worked for “wealthy and high-profile families” for 18 years in positions including supervisory and leadership roles. .
She previously worked at the Seattle-area residence of the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, according to the complaint. Allen provided dedicated staff quarters for rest, with easily accessible bathrooms, and “even fed the housekeepers and other employees.” .
In contrast, Bezos’ home did not have a designated break room for housekeepers, the lawsuit alleges. According to the lawsuit, Wedaa would often work 10 to 12 hours with no breaks to take breaks or lunch. The lawsuit alleges that she and another housekeeper developed urinary tract infections.
The lawsuit alleges that staff members insulted and disrespected Wedder and other Hispanic employees in ways they did not treat white housekeepers. Wedder also alleges that she was unfairly dismissed after filing complaints about alleged discrimination, unfair retaliation, and working conditions.
“Plaintiffs believed they were employees of Jeff Bezos, as were other housekeepers,” the lawsuit states. “When the Bezos family was home, Plaintiff was interacting with the family as an employer. Plaintiff followed orders and instructions from Jeff Bezos and his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez.”
According to the lawsuit, Wedder worked primarily at Bezos’ main Seattle-area residence, but occasionally worked at other homes. The lawsuit states that it supervises six people.
Patrick McGuigan, an attorney at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP, who filed the lawsuit on Wedaa’s behalf, said: “She is a hard working American and has been in the industry for several years doing domestic work for her wealthy and high profile family. She has had no problems with anyone.”
Wedaa seeks monetary damages for unpaid wages and lost profits, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other claims.
The lawsuit names Bezos on a personal basis and does not name Amazon as a defendant. Separately, the issue of adequate time for bathroom breaks has been raised in Amazon warehouses in the past by employees concerned about meeting productivity goals. The company has adjusted its policy accordingly.
A copy of the complaint is here.
Wedaa v. Bezos, et al by GeekWire on Scribd