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Bryant Whitten, LLP

Amazon under fire for pregnant employee bathroom breaks

Retail and online shopping industries are often seen as the most common culprits when it comes to work discrimination. You’ll frequently see some of the larger names in the news such as Walmart in a controversial court case at least once every month. Despite the heavy criticisms these companies receive and their vows to maintain a safe workplace, it can be difficult to hold them to their word considering how many buildings they have around the country and the number of workers within them.

The online shopping company Amazon has faced several controversies for their working environment within the last decade. Many current and former workers have cited inhumane conditions and disrespectful employers during their time operating there. The newest addition to their long list of criticisms was recently highlighted on a CNET article, where former employees that were pregnant spoke about how difficult their employers made it for them.

Not enough time in the restroom

CNET’s article featured 7 women that are suing Amazon for the company’s treatment of their pregnancies. One of the more recent workers operated at the San Bernardino facility and was fired nearly two months after she told her bosses she was pregnant.

The most common complaints within all of these lawsuits was how Amazon handled bathroom breaks. While the company claims that they don’t take note of how long the worker is in the bathroom, all of the ex-employees state that they were frequently hassled by their managers for taking too much time in them. The employers appeared to disregard doctor notes that state that pregnant workers must spend additional time in the bathroom.

The article also mentions how difficult it is to get restroom breaks even for workers that aren’t pregnant. Due to how large the facilities are, workers can potentially use up all of their break time just walking to the bathroom and back. Some employees hold it in for hours just to avoid losing their jobs.

How breaks should work

California requires employers to provide a reasonable amount of break time and accommodations to a pregnant worker’s medical needs. If they find any issues with the current setup, they must try to transfer the worker to a less strenuous position or environment.

Amazon has a lot of customers that they promise fast deliveries to, but that shouldn’t come at the cost of the personal safety of their employees. Every employer should be ready when they have a pregnant worker. Amazon is one of the largest corporations in the world and has thousands of employees in nearly every state, so they have no excuse for this level of neglect.

Workers that lose their jobs from pregnancy discrimination should consult with an attorney to see what their legal options are. They don’t deserve to lose so much for something thousands of families experience every year.

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