A former Amazon employee filed a lawsuit against the company Monday, claiming she was wrongfully terminated and was asked to repay more than $12,000 in wages after she allegedly became infected with so-called "long COVID."
Brittany Hope had worked as a brand manager for Amazon's fashion line, The Drop, and is suing for damages over the company's purported violations of federal, state and New York City disability laws. The lawsuit was filed in Manhattan federal court.
She said she was hospitalized following a flu diagnosis in February 2020, four months after she was hired by Amazon and one month before COVID-19 developed into a global pandemic.
The former Amazon worker said she found out later that she had been "seriously ill" with "COVID and long COVID." The lawsuit does not state whether Hope was diagnosed with COVID-19.
According to the lawsuit, Hope had reached out to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regarding her allegations.
Hope said she began working 17-hour shifts after the pandemic hit the U.S. She claimed it caused her to have suicidal thoughts and her physical health suffered.
She said her request for medical leave on May 12, 2020, prompted Amazon to strip her access to her work email and the company's disability and leave portal. Hope said the company fired her two months later for "job abandonment" and that she was asked to pay back $12,273 for alleged overpayment of wages.
"Hope could not navigate the company's leave process because of her severe long COVID symptoms," the lawsuit reads.
Her lawyer, Alex Berke, said in a statement that his client not receiving reasonable accommodations is "familiar to many Americans" and "similar to that of other Amazon employees who have found it difficult to balance the challenges to their own wellbeing against the demands of their jobs."
Reuters contributed to this report.