A transgender man from New Jersey is suing Amazon for pregnancy discrimination, failure to accommodate workplace retaliation and harassment based on gender identity, alleging he was harassed by employees after informing his supervisor about his pregnancy.
According to the federal suit, filed Monday, Shaun Simmons claims he told then supervisor Mike Menno about his pregnancy in June 2019. Menno then told another supervisor Tyler Houpt, before word spread through the Princeton fulfillment center.
Simmons noted he began to face harrassment from other employees soon after, including one worker who wrote "Aren't you pregnant?" in the men's bathroom.
“The harassment was purposeful, intentional and willful, undertaken by members of management, in fact and in law, and members of management were willfully indifferent to the harassment,” the suit says.
Menno and Houpt also allegedly began criticizing Simmons’ work performance in an attempt to get him demoted.
After Simmons complained to human resources, he was placed on paid leave, according to the suit.
The New Jersey Law Journal reported that Simmons said he was demoted to item picker, which required him to lift “large bags of dog food and other heavy items.”
Simmons reportedly told human resources lifting such weight in his condition was causing abdominal pain, which resulted in his second placement on paid leave in July. Amazon reportedly told Simmons to present a doctor's note for any pregnancy-related accomdations. Simmons claimed to have provided the required documentation but was denied the accomodation.
“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,” his suit reads, “which is demonstrated by the dozens of lawsuits filed against Amazon in the past six years in the state of New Jersey alone.”
Simmons also alleges an offer of a promotion at another warehouse, away from his harassers, was rescinded last September and that he was placed on unpaid leave the same month pending the birth of his child.
In addition to Amazon, Simmons has named Menno and Houpt in his suit, which seeks reinstatement of his job with back pay, as well as legal fees, restoration of lost benefits and punitive damages.
Legal representation for Simmons, Menno, and Houpt did not immediately return FOX Business' requests for comment.
A spokesperson for Amazon declined to comment on pending litigation, but told FOX Business that the company "does not tolerate discriminatory harassment of any kind.
“We have been, and continue to be, committed to accommodating all employees to perform their duties in a safe and inclusive workplace,” the spokesperson added.
The company noted it offers its employees a Transgender Resources Toolkit to help their transgender workforce through the process of transitioning and provides resources for allies and Amazon employees who manage, support and work with them.
The suit was removed to the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey in Trenton on Monday by lawyers from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius on behalf of Amazon.
Simmons' suit comes after an investigation by CNET in 2019 which found that at least seven lawsuits had been filed by women across the country who alleged that Amazon fired them after they became pregnant.