(Reuters) – A former Amazon.com Inc. employee sued the online retailer on Monday, saying it wrongly fired her and demanded that she pay back her salary after suffering from “long covid”.
Brittany Hope, 29, a former brand manager for Amazon’s model line The Drop in Manhattan, is seeking damages for alleged violations of federal, state and New York City disability laws.
The Brooklyn resident said she was hospitalized after being diagnosed with the flu on February 3, 2020, four months after she was hired, and a few weeks before the coronavirus began to take root in the United States.
Hope said she “later realized” she had been “seriously ill with covid and long covid.”;
The complaint filed with the Manhattan Federal Court does not say whether Ms. Hope was diagnosed with covid-19. It said that Ms. Hope also complained to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Amazon did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Ms Hope said that after the pandemic broke out and she started working 17-hour days, she began to have suicidal thoughts and her physical health deteriorated.
She said that her request for medical leave on May 12, 2020, caused Amazon to block access to her work email and the company’s portal for disability and leave.
She said Amazon fired her two months later for “laid off work” and billed her $ 12,273 for alleged overpayment of wages.
“Hope was unable to navigate the company’s leave process due to her severe long covid symptoms,” the complaint said.
Her failure to get affordable housing “is familiar to many Americans [and] similar to that of other Amazon employees who have had difficulty balancing the challenges of their own well-being against the demands of their jobs, Hope’s attorney Alex Berke said in a statement.
Amazon, the second largest private employer in the United States, has long been criticized by labor advocates for treating workers, which unions try to organize at certain facilities.
The Seattle-based company says it offers great benefits and salaries and sets fair goals for its employees.
The case is Hope v. Amazon.com Services LLC et alU.S. District Court, Southern District of New York.