A trans Amazon worker told his bosses he was pregnant. He says he was ‘harassed’, demoted and forced to lift heavy items

Patrick Kelleher October 7, 2020
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Amazon trans man

A trans man is suing Amazon, alleging that he experienced harassment in the workplace after he told supervisors about his pregnancy (Sean Gallup/Getty)

A trans man is suing Amazon, claiming that he endured harassment and was denied a promotion after he told his manager that he was pregnant.

Shaun Simmons, a trans man and who worked for Amazon in New Jersey, approached his supervisor Mike Menno in June 2019 to tell him that he was pregnant, he said in a lawsuit that filed Monday (October 5), according to NBC News

Simmons alleged that Menno told another supervisor, named Tyler Houpt. Shortly afterwards, news of his pregnancy became common knowledge at the Princeton fulfillment centre where he worked, according to the lawsuit.

The result, Simmons claims, was that he was subjected to harassment by other employees at the centre. In one incident, a co-worker asked him “Aren’t you pregnant?” when he was using the men’s bathroom.

Simmons also alleges that both Menno and Houpt repeatedly criticised his work. He believed they did this so they could demote him to a lower-ranking position.

Pregnant trans Amazon employee ‘made to lift heavy items’.

When he complained to human resources about the alleged mistreatment, he was placed on paid leave – but when he returned he was demoted to item picker. In the new role, he was required to lift large bags of dog food, along with other heavy items – a feat that proved challenging due to his pregnancy.

When Simmons complained to human resources, telling them that he was experiencing abdominal pain, he was put on paid leave again.

He said the company told him he must provide a doctor’s note requesting special accommodations during his pregnancy – but when he did so, he was reportedly denied special arrangements.

Elsewhere in the lawsuit, Simmons claims he was offered a promotion at another warehouse where he would not have to face his harassers – however this offer was rescinded in September 2019, he alleges, the same month he was placed on unpaid leave.

Simmons is alleging that he suffered harassment on the basis of gender and pregnancy during his time working for Amazon.

He wants the company to reinstate his job and provide back pay for the months he has been on unpaid leave.

Simmons’ lawsuit was first filed in the Mercer County Superior Court but was moved to the United States District Court for New Jersey on Monday following a request from Amazon’s lawyers, according to the New Jersey Law Journal.

Amazon told NBC News that it is unable to comment on ongoing litigation, but said it does not tolerate harassment.

PinkNews has contacted Amazon for comment.


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