The former housekeeper of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos claims she and other employees were forced to work in unsafe and unsanitary conditions — including having to climb out of laundry room windows to gain access to bathrooms.
Mercedes Wedaa filed a lawsuit in Seattle this week against Mr. Bezos and two companies that allegedly managed his properties.
She was hired in 2019 as a domestic worker, a position that required her to “work in a household without being seen,” the indictment said.
Some of her shifts were as long as 14 hours without breaks, during which “the housekeeper had no access to a reasonable bathroom,” the lawsuit said.
When the Bezos are at home, housekeepers are only allowed in to clean, which means they can’t go directly to the bathroom through the laundry door, which only leads to the residence.
Instead, they sometimes had to climb out of laundry room windows and up paths leading to the mechanical room and downstairs bathroom, which had been in place for about 18 months, Ms Wedaa said.
The lack of accessible bathrooms left her and other housekeepers unable to use the toilet for most of the day, resulting in frequent urinary tract infections, the complaint said.
Ms. Wedaa’s other claims include:
• The housekeeper has no place to rest
• The housekeeper sometimes serves meals in the laundry room
• Hispanic employees face discrimination based on their race
• She complained to her boss about undocumented workers being hired on contract, lack of rest periods and unsafe working conditions
• She was demoted due to her complaints, although she was never disciplined for her job performance
• She was wrongfully fired and told she looked ‘unhappy’ which negatively impacted the team
Ms Wedaa is seeking damages, the amount of which will be decided at trial.
Mr Bezos’ lawyer Harry Korrell said Ms Wedaa’s claims were absurd, adding that she only brought the case after her $9m (£8m) claim was rejected.
He added: “Ms Wedaa earns well over six figures a year and is the main housekeeper.
“She is responsible for her own breaks and meal times, and she and other staff have access to several bathrooms and lounges.
“The evidence will show that Ms Wedaa was fired for performance reasons.”
Ms Wedaa’s lawyer Patrick McGuigan said his client had “worked hard all her life and she was a very trustworthy person with compelling evidence to support her claims”.