Jeff Bezos sued by ex-housekeeper over racial bias, long hours

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NEW YORK: Jeff Bezos was sued by a former housekeeper who claims she was subject to racial discrimination by his staff and forced to work long hours in unsanitary conditions without rest or meal breaks.
Mercedes Wedaa, who joined the billionaire Amazon. com founder’s staff in September 2019, sometimes worked 10 to 14 hours a day and supervised a team of five to six housekeepers, according to her complaint filed on Tuesday in Seattle state court.
Staff didn’t have a designated break room or rest area and no easily accessible restroom, according to the complaint. Housekeeping staff would try to eat in a laundry room, and were prohibited from using a toilet in a nearby security room, forcing them to climb out a window to access a bathroom, according to the complaint.
“We have investigated these claims, they have no merit, and we’ll defend againstthem,” Harry Korrell, an attorney who represents Bezos and other defendants, said in an emailed statement. One of Bezos’s household managers “became aggressive and abusive” with Wedaa, and treated her and other Hispanic employees differently than Bezos’s white groundskeepers and maintenance staff, she alleged. She was ultimately terminated after nearly three years of employment, according to the complaint.
“Labour and employment laws say working people must be paid for the work they perform, and must be able to toperform that work in a safe, sanitary and healthy workplace,” said Patrick McGuigan, a lawyer representing Wedaa. Wedaa seeks back pay and benefits, as well as monetary damages, according to the complaint. Defendants in the case include Zefram LLC and Northwestern LLC, which the lawsuit identifies as entities that manage Bezos’s properties. The lawsuit was reported earlier by Seattle technology news site GeekWire.



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