“14-hour working days without breaks and toilets”

Her former housekeeper sued Jeff Bezos, the former chairman and CEO of Amazon, and two other companies that allegedly manage Bezos’ properties, alleging unsafe and unhealthy working conditions.

Mercedes Weda was hired as a cleaner in 2019, “she had to work inconspicuously around a family.” Some of her shifts lasted 14 hours without breaks, and during this time “there was no reasonably available bathroom for the housekeepers,” he writes in the lawsuit.

Jeff Bezos on September 19, 2018.

Photo: Jim Watson/AFP

When the Bezos family was at home, the housekeepers were only allowed to enter the house for cleaning, that is, they could not go directly to the bathroom through the laundry door, as it could only be accessed from the house. Instead, they had to climb out of the laundry room window to go to the bathroom.

According to the complaint, due to the lack of easily accessible bathrooms, she and other housekeepers spent most of the day unable to use the toilet, leading to frequent urinary tract infections.

Additional claims by Wedaa:

  • There was no place for housekeepers to rest.
  • Housekeepers sometimes ate in the laundry room.
  • Hispanic employees were discriminated against because of their race.
  • He complained to his bosses about undocumented workers employed on a contract basis, the lack of rest breaks and unsafe working conditions.
  • He was demoted because of his complaints, even though he was never disciplined for his job performance.
  • He was unfairly dismissed as he was told that he seemed “unhappy” and that it was having a negative impact on the team.

Wedaa is demanding compensation, the amount of which must be decided at the court hearing.

Harry Korrell, a lawyer for Bezos, called Wedaa’s claims absurd and said he filed the lawsuit only after his claim for $9 million in damages was rejected. The lawyer also said Wedaa earned more than six figures a year and was the chief housekeeper. “He was responsible for his own break and meal times, and there were multiple bathrooms and rest rooms available to him and other employees. The evidence will show that Weda was fired because of his performance.”

Wedaa’s attorney, Patrick McGuigan, said his client “has worked hard all his life, is a very credible person, and has compelling evidence to support his allegations.” (Sky News)