A transgender man is suing Amazon claiming he was denied a promotion after telling his manager he was pregnant.
Shaun Simmons, who works at the Amazon fulfillment center in Princeton, New Jersey, filed a federal lawsuit against the retail giant Monday for pregnancy and gender-based harassment and discrimination.
Simmons claims he was harassed by coworkers and denied a promotion after disclosing his pregnancy.
He also alleges he was demoted to a role where he had to lift heavy items, despite his pregnancy, and – when he complained to human resources about it – was put on unpaid leave.
A transgender man is suing Amazon claiming he was denied a promotion after telling his manager he was pregnant
Simmons began working at the New Jersey fulfillment center in January 2015 and was promoted to process assistant in 2018.
He claims he then told his supervisor Mike Menno about his pregnancy in June 2019, reported NBC News.
Menno then told another supervisor Tyler Houpt and the news quickly spread across the workplace, according to the lawsuit.
Simmons claims colleagues began harassing him including one worker questioning why he was using the men’s bathroom if he was pregnant.
‘Aren’t you pregnant?’ a coworker allegedly asked.
Simmons alleges the two supervisors also started criticizing his performance to get him demoted.
Simmons claims he filed a complaint to the human resources department and was placed on paid leave.
He returned from leave and was demoted to the role of item picker, where he was required to lift ‘large bags of dog food and other heavy items’ despite being pregnant, the suit says.
When Simmons complained to human resources that lifting the heavy items was causing him abdominal pain, he was placed on paid leave again in July, the suit states.
Simmons claims he was told to get a doctor’s note detailing any workplace accommodations he needed due to his pregnancy.
He claims he did this but his accommodations were denied by the company.
Then, in September of that year, the company withdrew an offer of a promotion at another warehouse and placed him on unpaid leave – a month before he was expected to give birth, the suit claims.
‘Amazon has a policy and practice of discriminating against individuals because of their disability and/or pregnancy, failing to provide employees with accommodations, and retaliating against employees for requesting an accommodation which is demonstrated by the dozens of lawsuits filed against Amazon in the past six years in the state of New Jersey alone,’ the suit reads.
The latest allegations by workers against the retail giant come in the wake of a CNET investigation last May that found at least seven separate lawsuits from women claiming they were fired by Amazon after disclosing they were pregnant. An Amazon warehouse
Simmons is suing Amazon for harassment based on gender and on pregnancy under New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, failure to accommodate and workplace retaliation.
He is seeking reinstatement of his job with back pay, legal fees, restoration of lost benefits and punitive damages.
As well as Amazon, Simmons has also named the two supervisors Menno and Houpt in the suit.
The case was moved from Mercer County Superior Court to the US District Court for the District of New Jersey in Trenton on Monday at the request of Amazon.
DailyMail.com has reached out to Amazon for comment.
An Amazon spokesperson told NBC Amazon could not comment on a pending case but that the company ‘does not tolerate discriminatory harassment of any kind’.
‘Please know that Amazon does not tolerate discriminatory harassment of any kind,’ the company said.
‘We have been, and continue to be, committed to accommodating all employees to perform their duties in a safe and inclusive workplace.’
The latest allegations by workers against the retail giant come in the wake of a CNET investigation last May that found at least seven separate lawsuits from women claiming they were fired by Amazon after disclosing they were pregnant.
In 2017, Amazon was also sued by a transgender woman and her husband, who said they suffered harassment and were forced to resign while working at an Amazon shipping facility in Kentucky.
Allegra Schawe-Lane and her husband Dane Lane said their co-workers threatened them with physical violence, brought them pornography and sex toys, and propositioned them for sex.
The suit was eventually settled out of court in 2019.
In June, the Supreme Court ruled that a civil rights law protects transgender workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The ruling came despite arguments from the Trump administration that gay and transgender workers should not be protected by US anti-discrimination laws.
Trump’s first Supreme Court appointment Neil Gorsuch ruled in favor of the LGBTQ+ community while his second Brett Kavanaugh dissented.