What started out as a small book-selling business has become one of the most influential and powerful companies globally. Within a matter of 25 years or so, Amazon has infiltrated every possible niche and necessity you could think of. With that kind of growth comes a great deal of responsibility and risks as well, and Amazon has had its fair share of scandals and suits. Here are some of the biggest lawsuits Amazon has faced over the years.
1. Discrimination against race and sex
These are probably some of Amazon’s earliest and most frequent lawsuits. From 2020 to 2021 alone, Amazon was sued 5 times regarding discrimination against race and gender and also for sexual harassment. In one of the cases, a Latina woman filed a lawsuit after getting fired for bringing up a complaint about her boss’ constant racist remarks about her. There has also been a lawsuit about a woman who kept getting passed over for promotions by her less qualified and less experienced peers.
2. Infant death
Perhaps the saddest lawsuit among them all, this infant death-related lawsuit was a nightmare for all parties involved. In 2019, a 9-month old baby died in an accident involving an Amazon delivery driver. Amazon insists that it is not responsible for the way their drivers drive, since they hire drivers through a third party. The parents of the infant tried to hold Amazon responsible, but they encountered problem after problem to no avail. In fact, the investigation to the case revealed over 60 accidents involving Amazon drivers, serious injuries, and at least 10 deaths.
3. Discrimination against pregnancies
Apart from the typical lawsuits that deal with gender, Amazon has also been hit with those involving pregnant women. There have been several women that have come forward after being fired from Amazon after they revealed their pregnancies to their superiors. In addition, these firings supposedly happened just before the company would’ve been required to provide healthcare accommodations for the women.
4. Exhausted driver
We can only imagine the kind of demand that Amazon has to deal with constantly, especially when it comes to product delivery. One of Amazon’s biggest customer service strengths is in its ability to deliver to customers in record time. However, the pressure of this promise to deliver falls onto the hands of the many delivery drivers that are forced to work unbelievable lengths of time. In one particular case, Amazon delivery driver Timothy Weakly sued the company after he once had to spend 49 hours driving with very minimal rest. This turned him into the kind of driver nobody ever wants on the road—a danger to others and a danger to himself.
5. Paralyzed man
Here’s another lawsuit involving an Amazon van accident. Ans Rana was only 24 years old when he became paralyzed after an accident with an Amazon delivery van. The story is the same here, with Amazon not claiming responsibility for the behaviors of its drivers. As it turns out, Amazon drivers are micromanaged when it comes to their deliveries. Amazon utilizes a tracking technology to keep tabs on how quickly drivers get their deliveries done. The high standards of Amazon are great for customers, but the workers often suffer the consequences.
6. Flex drivers
In 2019, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of Amazon Flex drivers. Amazon Flex is a program that allows regular non-Amazon employees to earn money doing deliveries for the company. The lawsuit states that California Flex drivers were refused their rightful overtime pay and other benefits under the state’s labor laws.
7. Recalled items for sale 660
The amount of products sold on Amazon is unbelievable. No doubt that many people have been deceived by product descriptions and the like. However, there is a lawsuit out there that claims Amazon sells recalled and dangerous products on their site. Ryan Edmundson of Cook County, Illinois filed a suit for fraud against the mega company saying that Amazon specifically sells banned, unsafe, mislabeled, and/or recalled products on its website. There have been no news on the progress of this lawsuit since it was put on hold in 2019.
According to Title III of the American Disabilities Act, websites are considered to be places of public accommodation. Because of this, Amazon has to make sure that their website is accessible to those with disabilities. As recent as 2018, Amazon was sued over accessibility barriers to users that are visually impaired or blind. The main complaints include the inability to use screen readers on the website and incompatibility with Braille displays. As one can imagine, this ADA lawsuit ended in a settlement.
Washington, D.C. Attorney General sued Amazon earlier in 2021 on antitrust grounds. The AG claimed that Amazon unfairly and illegally raises prices on consumers. This claim also states that Amazon maintains a monopoly that edges out competition and suppresses innovation. The lawsuit targets a specific clause in Amazon’s contracts with third-party sellers that disallows the sellers from offering the same products on a competitor’s marketplace at a lower price. This particular clause has since been renamed and reworded, though it remains fairly similar to the original.
10. E-book pricing
In January of 2021, another class action lawsuit was filed against Amazon regarding its book pricing. According to the lawsuit, Amazon has partnered with the top 5 publishers in the country and have entered into price fixing agreements since 2015. These agreements have given publishers the ability to hike up e-book prices up to 30% without having to worry about competition. The Big Five in publishing includes Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin-Randomhouse, and Simon & Schuster. The lawsuit continues to be in active and ongoing investigation and remains to be just some of the many antitrust lawsuits that Amazon is dealing with.