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Amazon is facing racial discrimination charges against drivers

One of the largest online retail giants in the world is facing scrutiny after eight delivery drivers from the nearby Boston, Massachusetts, area filed a class action complaint against the company alleging racial discrimination. According to the lawsuit, Amazon's contractor, Miller Express, terminated the employment of dozens of drivers at the discretion of Amazon, following changes to their background-check policy that included a criminal background check, which was considered a discriminatory policy.

The lawyers allege that since law enforcement targets people of color, the new background-check policy particularly affects minority drivers. It also alleges that some of the criminal backgrounds of the drivers in question included charges while the driver was a minor or charges that were years old. They claim that Amazon is in violation of both state and federal anti-discrimination laws. The complaints were filed with a state agency that works on behalf of employees to protect their civil rights, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.

It remains to be seen how this lawsuit will play out in court, but it is important for all employees to understand that they have specific local, state and federal rights protecting them from all forms of workplace discrimination. This includes not only racial discrimination, but discrimination on the grounds of a person's age, sex, sexual orientation, country of origin and religious beliefs.

If you believe you have been discriminated against, whether it was a firing, lower wages than fellow employees in the same job with the same experience and history, denial of a promotion or any other action detrimental to your status at the company, you may want to get more information to determine if you may be entitled to compensation.

Source: Boston Business Journal, "Amazon accused of racial discrimination by Mass. Delivery drivers," By Greg Ryan, Jan. 31, 2017

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