2020 brought a wave of discrimination and harassment allegations against major companies like Amazon, McDonald's, and Pinterest. These are some of the year's high-profile legal battles.

mcdonalds amazon pinterest

Summary List Placement

American workplaces have long been hotbeds of discrimination and
harassment, particularly for those who aren’t white, light-skinned,
male, straight, single, young, able-bodied Americans.

Since 2000, 99% of Fortune 500 companies have paid settlements
in at least one discrimination or s****l harassment lawsuit,
according to a report from
Good Jobs First
, and that’s not including the cases without a
public record or incidents
victims didn’t report
.

Even though there are laws against pay
discrimination
, US companies on average still
pay women just $0.82
for every dollar they pay men, and

pay women of color even less
— and executives have made
virtually
no progress
in closing wage gaps across the country since the

early 2000s
. In 2019, the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission received more than
7,500 s****l harassment
complaints, and
72,000 complaints
about racial, s*x, age, religious and other
types of discrimination.

In recent years, however, empowered in part by the
#BlackLivesMatter
and
#MeToo movements
, American workers are increasingly turning to
the courts to hold their employers accountable for breaking civil
rights laws and demand companies fix racist, s****t, ageist,
ableist, and other biased pay practices and work environments.

Since 2018, companies like
Google
,
Uber
,
Fox News
,
Riot Games
,
UPS
,
Coca-Cola
, and
Target
have paid out multimillion-dollar settlements, and this
year brought an even larger wave of high-profile cases.

Here are some of the major workplace discrimination, harassment,
and retaliation lawsuits that workers filed against America’s
largest companies in 2020, as well as cases where new plaintiffs
joined.

Have you faced discrimination or harassment in your
workplace?�
Contact this reporter using a non-work device
via encrypted messaging app Signal at +1 503-319-3213, or
by email at tsonnemaker@insider.com. We
can keep sources anonymous.

Amazon was accused in lawsuits this year of having hiring practices
and COVID-19 safety measures that were racially biased, as well as
discriminating against a pregnant transgender man.

  • February: Former hiring manager Lisa McCarrick
    sued Amazon after her manager allegedly asked her to stalk job
    applicants’ social media accounts to determine their race and
    gender, and then fired her when she complained. [NBC
    News
    ]
  • October: Shaun Simmons, a transgender man,
    claimed in a lawsuit that he faced harassment and retaliation while
    working at Amazon and was demoted and denied a promotion after
    telling his manager he was pregnant. [NBC
    News
    ]
  • November: Former Amazon warehouse employee
    Chris Smalls sued Amazon over its pandemic response, claiming it
    violated civil rights laws by failing to protect Black, Brown, and
    immigrant warehouse workers from COVID-19 while looking out for its
    mostly white managers. [Business
    Insider
    ]
  • November: Denard Norton, a Black Amazon
    warehouse employee, sued the company accusing it of denying him
    promotions based on race and ignoring his repeated complaints about
    coworkers’ racist remarks. [NJ.com]

Bloomberg LP was hit by lawsuits accusing it of aiding and abetting
Charlie Rose’s s****l harassment, as well as racial and gender bias
in its pay and promotion practices.

  • June: Two women who had accused ex-CBS News
    host Charlie Rose of s****l harassment also sued Bloomberg for
    “aiding and abetting” Rose, who operated his independently owned
    studio out of Bloomberg’s New York headquarters. [The
    Hollywood Reporter
    ]
  • August: Former Bloomberg reporter Nafeesa
    Syeed sued the company for pay and promotion practices that were
    allegedly “top-down” and systemically biased against women of
    color. [HR
    Dive
    ]

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a private philanthropy run by
Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg, was sued by employees who
claimed Black employees are “underpaid, undervalued, and
marginalized.”

  • November: ex-CZI employee Ray Holgado sued the
    nonprofit, claiming he was consistently denied promotion and growth
    opportunities, and was treated differently because of his race.
    [Business
    Insider
    ]

Disney was sued in 2019 over gender-based pay discrimination, and
multiple additional women joined the lawsuit this year.

  • March: Chelsea Henke became
    the tenth Disney executive to join a lawsuit filed against the
    company in April 2019 that alleged “rampant gender pay
    discrimination.” [LA
    Times
    ]

Facebook became the subject of a federal complaint alleging the
company is biased against Black employees and candidates.

  • July: While not a formal lawsuit, a Facebook
    recruiter and two rejected job applicants filed a complaint with
    the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission accusing Facebook of
    “racial discrimination” against Black workers and applicants “in
    hiring, evaluations, promotions, and pay.” [Business
    Insider
    ]

Fox News ex-host Ed Henry was accused of s****l assault, while
hosts Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Howard Kurtz, and Gianno
Caldwell were all accused of harassment in a lawsuit by a former
producer.

  • July: Former Fox News producer Jennifer
    Eckhart claimed in a lawsuit that ex-host Ed Henry violently raped
    her, and that Fox News knew and refused to discipline him, while
    former Fox guest Cathy Areu alleged she was sexually harassed by
    Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Howard Kurtz, and Gianno Caldwell.
    [Business
    Insider
    ]

Goldman Sachs allegedly covered up s****l misconduct by a top
lawyer, and the woman who spoke publicly about it sued, claiming
the company retaliated against her.

  • October: Former Goldman Sachs employee Marla
    Crawford claimed one of the bank’s top lawyers, Darrell Cafasso,
    sexually harassed a female subordinate and that Goldman covered up
    the allegations and retaliated against her for trying to speak
    publicly about it. [Business
    Insider
    ]

Google ex-employees who sued the company in 2017 over gender pay
disparities asked the court this year to expand their case to
include 10,800 additional coworkers.

  • July: Four employees who sued Google in 2017,
    alleging women at the company are paid about $16,794 less than men
    in similar positions, asked the court to grant their lawsuit class
    action status, which would allow them to represent 10,800 other
    female Google employees. [Business
    Insider
    ]

Hearst, the parent company of Esquire magazine, was sued by an
ex-executive at Esquire who claimed she faced gender and age
discrimination from her former boss.

  • September: Former Esquire ad executive Lauren
    Johnson, 52, sued Hearst, the magazine’s parent company, claiming
    she faced age and gender discrimination as well as retaliation for
    complaining, and that her boss Jack Essig “regularly mocked” older
    employees and female workers. [Business
    Insider
    ]

Johnson & Johnson was sued by an ex-exec who claimed she faced
“s****t, harassing and demeaning” behavior from male coworkers due
to her gender and s****l orientation.

  • December: Gina Bilotti, a high-ranking 25-year
    veteran of Johnson & Johnson, sued the company, claiming she
    had endured years of discrimination, harassment, abuse, and
    retaliation on the basis of her gender and s****l orientation.
    [NJ.com]

Marriott was sued by a Black ex-employee who claimed he was fired
in retaliation for complaining about racist behavior by coworkers.

  • July: Kaseam Seales, formerly a bellhop at a
    Marriott hotel in New Jersey, claimed the company fired him in
    retaliation for complaining that his coworkers were exhibiting
    racist behavior toward him, and that they consistently gave more
    lucrative shifts to white bellhops. [Providence
    Journal
    ]

McDonald’s is facing two racial discrimination lawsuits from Black
franchisees as well as a class action s****l harassment suit, and
could be on the hook for billions of dollars in damages.

  • April: McDonald’s employees filed a $500
    million s****l harassment class-action lawsuit against the company,
    claiming they faced physical and verbal harassment from coworkers
    and customers. [Business
    Insider
    ]
  • August: 52 Black ex-franchisees filed a $1
    billion racial-discrimination lawsuit against McDonald’s, claiming
    the company sent them on “financial suicide missions” by pushing
    them to open stores in less profitable locations, eventually
    cutting the number of Black franchisees by 50% over the past two
    decades. [Business
    Insider
    ]
  • October: In a separate class action suit,
    current Black franchisees said they faced a “pipeline of
    discrimination” from McDonald’s, which allegedly imposed “two
    standards” for white and black owners, giving white franchisees
    better opportunities while being more strict with Black owners on
    safety inspections. [Business
    Insider
    ]

Morgan Stanley’s first diversity officer sued the bank over claims
of racial discrimination and retaliating against employees who
tried to make its culture more inclusive.

  • June: Marilyn Booker, Morgan Stanley’s first
    diversity officer, claimed in a racial-discrimination lawsuit that
    the bank retaliated against her and other Black female employees
    and eventually fired her for trying to make the bank’s workforce
    more diverse and inclusive. [The
    Washington Post
    ]

The NCAA was sued by HBCU athletes who claimed the organization’s
academic performance policies are biased against their schools.

  • December: Athletes from Historically Black
    Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) sued the National Collegiate
    Athletic Association, college sports’ governing body, claiming its
    academic performance standards — which are ostensibly meant to
    improve graduation rates — simply ended up discriminating against
    their schools, and thus disproportionately impacted Black student
    athletes. [NPR]

Oracle was sued in 2017 by female employees over gender pay
disparities, and a court earlier this year opened the class action
to more than 4,000 other current and former employees.

  • May: Three female Oracle employees sued the
    company in 2017, claiming it paid women less than men, citing an
    economists’ study that found the pay gap averaged $13,000 per year.
    This year, a court granted the case class action status, opening
    the door for more than 4,000 current and former employees to join
    the suit. [The
    Mercury News
    ]

Pinterest recently paid a former executive $22.5 million to settle
a gender discrimination lawsuit and is facing another from
shareholders over alleged racial and gender discrimination.

  • August: Ex-Pinterest COO Françoise Brougher
    filed a gender-bias lawsuit against the company, claiming she faced
    pay discrimination and s****t behavior from other executives.
    Pinterest paid $22.5 million in December to settle the suit.
    [Business
    Insider
    ]
  • December: Following Brougher’s lawsuit and
    explosive allegations by
    dozens of current
    and
    former employees
    , Pinterest shareholders sued the company,
    accusing it of harming investors by creating and perpetuating a
    culture of racial and s*x discrimination. [Business
    Insider
    ]

Uber was sued by a driver who claimed the company’s five-star
rating system is racially biased.

  • October: Thomas Liu, a former Uber driver,
    sued the company after it kicked him off the platform because his
    driver rating had fallen below a 4.6 out of 5. He claimed Uber’s
    use of the system amounted to “intentional race discrimination”
    because of the “widely recognized” notion that racism often slips
    into customers’ evaluations of workers. [Business
    Insider
    ]

Warner Bros. was sued by a former executive who alleged she faced
gender discrimination and harassment from men in the company’s
senior ranks, which she called an “old boys club.”

  • October: An ex-Warner Bros. executive sued the
    company over gender discrimination, claiming she was fired in
    retaliation for raising complaints about s****t behavior and
    harassment by male executives. [Deadline]

WeWork was hit with at least three lawsuits from former employees
alleging harassment, discrimination, and that a manager intimidated
an employee by, among other things, bringing a crossbow and knives
to work.

  • July: WeWork became the subject of three new
    gender and race discrimination and harassment lawsuits this
    year,..

Source: FS – All – Interesting – Lifestyle
2020 brought a wave of discrimination and harassment
allegations against major companies like Amazon, McDonald's, and
Pinterest. These are some of the year's high-profile legal
battles.