Ex-Amazon worker in Everett sues over alleged discrimination

EVERETT, Wash. — A former manager for an Amazon, Inc. facility in Everett and four other former and current employees have sued the company, claiming they were subjected to gender and racial discrimination and retaliation.

Diana Cuervo, 40, alleged in the lawsuit that her supervisor Christopher Stoia made derogatory comments about her accent and Latin American heritage when she managed delivery operations for an Amazon robotics station, The Daily Herald reported. Cuervo was born in Colombia.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle claimed that Stoia frequently made remarks such as “Latins suck” and warned her she would be fired if she complained to human resources staff.

None of the alleged incidents occurred in a room monitored by cameras, the lawsuit said.

Cuervo also said that she worked with many white men who were ranked higher and paid more than her and that she faced constant questioning about her qualifications for the job, even though she has a master’s degree.

Stoia, 36, could not be reached for comment, The Daily Herald reported. A LinkedIn account for an Amazon worker by that name from the “Greater Seattle Area” appeared to have been deleted.

Amazon, Inc. disputed the claims made by Cuervo and plaintiffs in the four other lawsuits, each represented by the New York firm Wigdor Law.

“We are conducting thorough investigations for each of these unrelated cases, as we do with any reported incidents, and we have found no evidence to support the allegations,” Amazon spokesperson Brad Glasser said, adding that Amazon does not tolerate discrimination or harassment.

The lawsuit said Cuervo went to human resources with her complaints, but that the company failed to take action. A senior human resources assistant met with her to discuss her concerns and allowed Stoia to attend, the lawsuit said.

Amazon said in response that those meetings were to discuss performance issues and that no discrimination concerns were raised.

Cuervo was later fired and was told it was because she allowed a truck driver to take an empty trailer from the station even though she was later told the driver was assigned to a different building nearby, she said.

Amazon then asked her to repay about $20,000 paid to her since she started in August 2020 as she sought legal representation over her termination, the lawsuit said.

Amazon said Cuervo was fired because she violated safety rules by allowing two people who were not employees inside a secure building and that she also involved herself in a potentially dangerous process of docking and releasing trailers, even though supervisors told her not to do so.

One of the four additional lawsuits was also filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle. The other three were filed in Arizona, California and Delaware, according to The Washington Post, which is owned by Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos.