Husband and transgender wife suing Amazon, claim discrimination at Hebron center
COVINGTON, Ky. (WKRC) - A couple from Kenton County is suing Amazon after they say they were harassed and threatened while working at the company's Hebron warehouse.
Dane Lane and Allegra Schawe-Lane worked at Amazon's fulfilment center from October 2014 until October 2015.
"We thought it'd be a good place to work. It'd be a safe environment to work. And that's why we went there," says Lane.
His wife, Allegra, is a transgender woman and that's why Amazon's LGBT friendly policies appealed to them.
The company's hiring website reads: "We believe that diversity and inclusion are good for our business, but our commitment is based on something more fundamental than that. It's simply right."
The Lanes said they were surprised when they were met with hostility, harassment and threats by colleagues. They say someone shared Schawe-Lane's personal information and they instantly became targets.
The couple says it came to a head when someone severed their car's brake line. They say they no longer felt safe in their community.
"Someone drew a map of where we live, and the death threats, and the brake line being cut was just the last straw that we had to hide in the house," says Lane.
The couple contacted human resources several times but say nothing substantive changed. They eventually reached out to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and earlier this year it found that the evidence substantiated the couple's claims.
On Wednesday the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF) filed suit against Amazon on behalf of the Lanes. The lawsuit sites "escalating and unrelenting discrimination and harassment."
"Transgender people have such a high rate of unemployment because of this kind of discrimination that it leaves many transgender people in poverty and that's really not the American Dream," says Jillian Weiss, TLDEF Executive Director.
The couple is asking to be compensated and for Amazon to make policy changes so others don't have to endure the same treatment.
So far Amazon hasn't responded to our request for a comment.