Originally published on The Seattle Lesbian and re-published here with their permission.
Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund has filed a federal lawsuit against Amazon on behalf of a married couple who faced cruel and persistent discrimination at an Amazon shipping facility in Hebron, Kentucky. Allegra Schawe-Lane and her husband, Dane Lane, encountered the bias between October 2014 and October 2015.
Allegra and Dane say they endured severe bigotry and sexual harassment after their Amazon colleagues learned that Allegra is a transgender woman. They were targeted with vicious slurs and threats. When they complained, they endured retaliation and were told that they were not allowed to make complaints in writing. While driving home one day from the secure Amazon parking lot, they found that the brakes on their car were not working correctly, and learned from their mechanic that the brake line was intentionally severed, putting the couple at significant risk of serious injury or death.
“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,” said Allegra Schawe-Lane. “No one deserves to be singled out and abused the way we were. 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. We are filing this lawsuit to ensure that no other transgender person or their spouse ever face such job discrimination at Amazon in the future.”
“My wife Allegra and I could never have imagined the pain and heartache we would experience at Amazon. The abuse inflicted on us was unimaginable and we are still suffering from the detrimental effects,” said Dane Lane. “We both have a host of physical and mental difficulties including serious anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder. We continue to pay a huge price for Amazon allowing bigotry to go unchecked. A multi-billion dollar corporation like Amazon can surely take action to ensure this kind of horrendous discrimination never happens there again.”
The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) found evidence that substantiated these violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans With Disabilities Act.
“This lawsuit sends a strong message. No one should ever be subjected to job discrimination on the basis of their sex or disability,” said Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund Executive Director, Jillian Weiss. “All Americans deserve an equal chance to work hard and earn a living for themselves and their families, without fear of being targeted for being themselves.”
“We are particularly disheartened about this discrimination at Amazon, given the impact of its highly celebrated digital series, Transparent, a groundbreaking program on Amazon Prime that continues to win awards for depicting the transgender experience in a positive, sensitive and multi-dimensional manner. Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund even honored Transparent at its Freedom Awards Benefit in 2015,” Weiss said. “While we in no way connect this case to the program and its talented writers, actors and producers, we do call on Amazon to examine the disconnect between the message of its hit show Transparent and the discrimination perpetrated against Allegra and Dane at Amazon’s Hebron, Kentucky shipping facility.”
TLDEF is filing this complaint through local counsel Amanda R. Walker of the Zoppoth Law Firm in Louisville, Kentucky. The case is Allegra Schawe-Lane and Dane Lane v. Amazon.com. KYDC LLC, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, Case No. 2:17-cv-00134-WOB-JGW. You can read the complaint here.
TLDEF is using CrowdJustice, the world’s leading platform for crowdfunding legal cases, to help with legal costs of Allegra and Dane’s case. Prominent cases using CrowdJustice include Legal Aid Justice Center’s Aziz v. Trump, challenging President Trump’s “Muslim Ban,” and a prominent lawsuit against voting district gerrymandering in Virginia. All donations to Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, a 501(c)(3) organization, are tax deductible, and will be used to defray the expenses of litigation of Allegra and Dane’s case.
To learn more about the case and how you can support Allegra and Dane, go to crowdjustice.com/case/amazonky.