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Amazon Warehouse Workers Reportedly Complain of Racism and Death Threats

Black Amazon warehouse workers were reportedly denied increased security and told they could choose to leave work without pay.

Amazon logo on fulfillment center building
Workers at an Amazon warehouse in Joliet, Illinois, filed complaints about workplace racism.
Gabe Ginsberg/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Past and present employees at an Amazon warehouse near Chicago have reportedly filed claims with Illinois authorities charging that the company allowed racism and death threats against Black employees in the workplace.

Photos of racist and threatening graffiti in women's bathrooms were included in a complaint 26 current and former workers at the Amazon warehouse in Joliet, Illinois,made with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Illinois Department of Human Rights, according to Chicago-based PBS station WTTW. 

When Black employees asked for better security at the warehouse amid death threats, they were reportedly denied and told their only option was to leave work for the day and forgo getting paid. 

Read also: NY State Accuses Amazon of Discrimination Against Pregnant and Disabled Workers

The workers also allege management ignored complaints about other employees wearing clothes that included images of the Confederate flag and denied worker requests to swap shifts in order to celebrate Juneteenth, a federal holiday that marks the end of slavery in the US, according to the report.

One of the Joliet warehouse workers who filed the complaint, Tori Davis, said she was fired earlier in July after telling Amazon she'd take legal action if her complaints of racism weren't addressed, according to WTTW, and is appealing her firing.

The allegations come amid Amazon's fight against its workers' unionization efforts. In May, Amazon fired employees at a Staten Island warehouse who had voted to unionize. A month earlier, the company was forced to reinstate a worker fired two years ago for protesting poor working conditions in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Amazon works hard to protect our employees from any form of discrimination and to provide an environment where employees feel safe. Hate or racism have no place in our society and are certainly not tolerated by Amazon," Amazon spokesperson Richard Rocha said in a statement to CNET.