Democratic senators request probe into Amazon's treatment of pregnant employees

Democratic senators request probe into Amazon's treatment of pregnant employees
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Democratic senators on Friday sent a letter to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) requesting an investigation into Amazon's treatment of its pregnant workers.

The letter – written by Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Gillibrand11 senators urge House to pass .5T package before infrastructure bill Hochul tells Facebook to 'clean up the act' on abortion misinformation after Texas law Democratic senators request probe into Amazon's treatment of pregnant employees MORE (D-N.Y.) and signed by Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenTreasury says more rental aid is reaching tenants, preventing evictions 11 senators urge House to pass .5T package before infrastructure bill Senate Democrats seeking information from SPACs, questioning 'misaligned incentives' MORE (D-Mass.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersDon't let partisan politics impede Texas' economic recovery The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by the League of Conservation Voters — EPA finalizing rule cutting HFCs MORE (I-Vt.), Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyHouse passes bill to ensure abortion access in response to Texas law Democrats surprised, caught off guard by 'framework' deal Bipartisan senators to hold hearing on 'toxic conservatorships' amid Britney Spears controversy MORE (D-Pa.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Ct.) and Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownBiden taps big bank skeptic to for top regulatory post Schumer announces Senate-House deal on tax 'framework' for .5T package Senate Democrats seeking information from SPACs, questioning 'misaligned incentives' MORE (D-Ohio) – urges the agency to probe "substantial and credible allegations that Amazon systematically denies reasonable accommodations
for pregnant employees at its fulfillment centers."

The senators pointed to recent lawsuits in which Amazon workers have accused the company of mistreating them during their pregnancies.

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"Between 2015 and 2019, former Amazon employees filed at least seven lawsuits alleging that Amazon wrongfully terminated them during their pregnancies and failed to accommodate rudimentary requests such as more frequent bathroom breaks and fewer continuous hours on their feet," the letter stated.

NPR reported that Amazon did not immediately respond to the letter on Friday. The Hill has reached out to Amazon for comment.

The e-retailer is reportedly the United States's second-largest private employer, with more than 950,000 workers, many of whom are warehouse staff. Advocates for workers' rights and critics of Amazon have become increasingly vocal about the company's treatment of its employees, recently accusing the retailer of forcing workers to forego bathroom breaks and urinate in bottles.

"I ask that you take all appropriate steps to investigate and address Amazon’s systemic failure to provide adequate accommodations, including modification of job duties and time off for pregnancy-related medical needs, under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and Americans with Disabilities Act in the interest of the health and safety of pregnant workers," the Friday letter asked of the EEOC.

Amazon CEO Jeff BezosJeffrey (Jeff) Preston BezosWhy Democrats opposing Biden's tax plan have it wrong Equilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by The American Petroleum Institute — Climate change turning US into coffee country Foundations pledge billion in record funding for biodiversity MORE in an April letter to shareholders pledged nearly $300 million to ensure workplace safety and argued that the company's performance goals are not unreasonable.

"If you read some of the news reports, you might think we have no care for employees. In those reports, our employees are sometimes accused of being desperate souls and treated as robots. That’s not accurate," he said at the time. "We don't set unreasonable performance goals. We set achievable performance goals that take into account tenure and actual employee performance data."