Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is being sued by his former housekeeper for alleged racial discrimination and "unsafe" working conditions, reports Geekwire.
Mercedes Wedaa in court papers filed in King County (Washington) Superior Court in Seattle Tuesday said she was subjected to racial discrimination and retaliation from members of Bezos' personal staff, didn't have adequate access to a bathroom on the job, and was not allowed to take legally required breaks.
"When the Bezos family was home, the housekeepers were not permitted to access the home, unless to perform a cleaning assignment," reads the suit.
"For about 18 months, in order to use a bathroom, Plaintiff and other housekeepers were forced to climb out the laundry room window to the outside then run along the path to the mechanical room, through the mechanical room and downstairs to a bathroom," Wedaa's suit adds.
Wedaa was also required to work 10- to 14-hour days without legally required rest or meal breaks, the suit alleges.
Harry Korrell, an attorney for Bezos, told the New York Post: "We have investigated the claims and they lack merit. Ms. Wedaa made over six figures annually and was the lead housekeeper. 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. She initially demanded over $9M, and when the company refused, she decided to file this suit. Given their backgrounds, the suggestion that Mr. Bezos, Ms. Sanchez, or Northwestern LLC discriminated against Ms. Wedaa based on her race or national origin is absurd."
Wedaa's lawyer told Geekwire her story is "extremely credible."
"My client is extremely credible," said lawyer Patrick Leo McGuigan, of HKM Employment Attorneys LLP. "She's a hard-working American, a person who's been in this industry for some years now, housekeeping for wealthy, high-profile families. She's never had any issues with anyone."
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