Workers in New Jersey and around the country generally cannot be retaliated against for raising valid concerns about their treatment. However, three women who worked at an Amazon warehouse in Minnesota say that they were retaliated against because they took part in a protest. They also claim that the company failed to promote workers based on their religion and national origin. The employees filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission outlining other specific allegations against the company.
For example, they claimed that they no longer took bathroom breaks, broke their fast during Ramadan, and stopped taking time to pray. According to the complaint, this was done out of a fear that they could be disciplined for doing so. In a statement from Muslim Advocates, the women have received write-ups and have also had conversations with others at work recorded by supervisors. Muslim Advocates is the group representing the employees in this case.
Amazon said that it had no comment on the matter as it wanted to respect the privacy of those who made the complaints. Furthermore, the company said that workers are paid for prayer breaks that last up to 20 minutes. Finally, the Amazon spokesperson said that anyone who was interested was encouraged to tour the facility and to compare its compensation package with that of other companies.
Discrimination in the workplace may take many forms. For instance, religious discrimination may take place if a worker is not allowed to observe a holiday or wear traditional clothing. Generally speaking, employers are required to make accommodations for employees who have strongly-held beliefs. Workers who feel as if their rights were violated may want to consult with an attorney to see what recourse they might have.
Source: Gizmodo, “Three Muslim Amazon Workers Allege They Were Unfairly Punished for Raising Workplace Discrimination Concerns“, Catie Keck, May 8, 2019