Amazon founder Jeff Bezos faces lawsuit from former housekeeper
The suit alleges racial discrimination, retaliation and poor working conditions
A former housekeeper for Jeff Bezos has filed a lawsuit making several allegations about her treatment during her tenure working at the Amazon founder's home.
Mercedes Wedaa filed the lawsuit against Bezos and two limited liability companies in Washington state’s King County Superior Court on Tuesday. It accuses him, Zefram LLC and Northwestern LLC of multiple violations, including alleged racial discrimination, retaliation and poor working conditions.
In the complaint uploaded online by GeekWire, Wedaa alleged she and other housekeepers were not provided a designated break room, rest and meal breaks or a "reasonably accessible bathroom" while working long days.
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They had to clamber out the window of the laundry room to enter a mechanical room through which they could get access to a downstairs bathroom for roughly a year and a half, she alleged in the lawsuit. The complaint claimed the lack of easy access to a restroom resulted in housekeepers getting urinary tract infections at times.
Wedaa also made allegations about certain managers treating Hispanic housekeepers differently than white workers, facing retaliation for raising concerns about issues and being wrongfully terminated, according to the complaint.
GeekWire reported on the lawsuit on Tuesday.
Harry Korrell, the attorney representing Bezos, told FOX Business the claims were investigated and "lack merit," saying Wedaa made "over six figures annually."
"She was responsible for her own break and meal times, and there were several bathrooms and breakrooms available to her and other staff. The evidence will show that Ms. Wedaa was terminated for performance reasons," he said. "She initially demanded over $9M, and when the company refused, she decided to file this suit."
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"Given their backgrounds, the suggestion that Mr. Bezos, Ms. Sanchez, or Northwestern LLC discriminated against Ms. Wedaa based on her race or origin is absurd," Korrell said.
Wedaa’s attorney, Patrick McGuigan, said in a statement to FOX Business that she has "worked hard all her life," is a "very credible person" and "compelling evidence supports her claims."
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"No employer is above the law, not even Jeff Bezos and the organizations he uses to locate and hire people to work for him at his home and at his other properties," McGuigan said. "Federal and state labor and employment laws dictate that employees must be paid for the work they perform and that they must be able to perform their work in a discrimination free, safe, sanitary, and healthy workplace. These laws must be adhered to by all employers."
The lawsuit seeks damages of various kinds, coverage of attorney fees and injunctive relief.