A transgender woman and her husband who sued Amazon.com Inc, on Wednesday, have accused the company of subjecting them to severe harassment and physical threats when they both worked at the retailer's warehouse in Kentucky.
According to the lawsuit filed in federal court in Kentucky, Allegra Schawe-Lanne was subjected to taunts such as ''shemale'' and ''crossdresser'' from coworkers. The couple also faced crass comments about their sex life, it added.
Though the couple lodged several complaints with supervisors during the year they worked at the Hebron, Kentucky warehouse, no action was taken by the company, the lawsuit said.
Supervisors who were joined in the harassment were instructed to ''watch them closely.''
According to the lawsuit, the couple feared for their lives after a coworker cut the brake lines on their car. The two quit their jobs in 2015 after the incidents.
The lawsuit comes after the company was commended by civil rights groups for their drama ''Transparent,'' one of the first series to feature a transgender lead character.
''We call on Amazon to examine the disconnect between the message of its hit show Transparent and the discrimination perpetrated against Allegra and Dane,'' said Jillian Weiss, executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF), which is representing the couple in the lawsuit, and which gave ''Transparent'' an award in 2015, Huffington Post reported.
According to the suit, employees were ''openly hostile'' about Allegra using the women's bathroom. It also claims that Allegra's superiors intentionally gave her more strenuous work than her fellow co-workers, which included tasks requiring lifting boxes full of books for entire shifts, even though she had a doctor's note saying she should avoid heavy lifting.
''My husband Dane and I were devoted to our jobs. In return, we were treated atrociously by our co-workers and our bosses, simply because I am a woman,'' Allegra said in a statement issued by the TLDEF.
''The trauma we withstood still impacts us negatively today, creating serious health problems and leaving us with no money to pay for the doctors we desperately need.''