Jeff Bezos, owner of Blue Origin, unveils a new lunar lander called Blue Moon during an event at the Washington Convention Center on May 9, 2019 in Washington, DC.
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A woman who says she worked as a housekeeper for Jeff Bezos is suing the Amazon the founder and the companies that manage his properties, alleging that she endured “unsafe and harmful working conditions” and was racially discriminated against by other employees.
Mercedes Vedaa said she was hired by Bezos’ staff in 2019 to help maintain the billionaire tech mogul’s Seattle estate. Vedaa and other domestic staff regularly worked 10- to 14-hour days and did not receive proper meal and rest breaks, she alleged in the lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday in King County Superior Court in Seattle.
The lawsuit alleges there was no dedicated room or sitting area, and no easily accessible bathroom. Vedaa and other housekeepers were barred from using the restroom in an adjacent security room, leading employees to climb through a laundry room window to access the bathroom, according to the lawsuit, which was previously reported by GeekWire.
The complaint alleges that Wedaa and other housekeepers often developed urinary tract infections because they “were forced to spend large parts of the day without the opportunity to use the toilet.” Maintenance staff were also prohibited from entering the residence when the Bezos were there, except when they were cleaning.
House managers allegedly mistreated Vedao and other Hispanic cleaning staff while being “respectful and courteous” to Bezos’ white caretakers and maintenance staff, the complaint said.
Vedaa claims she was ultimately fired from her position after she complained about working conditions and discriminatory behavior.
Harry Correll, a lawyer for Bezos and other defendants, including Zefram and Northwestern, the two companies that manage his interests and assets, said Vedaa was fired because of performance issues.
“We have investigated the claims and they are unfounded,” Carell said in an emailed statement. He said Vedaa earned more than six figures annually and that there were multiple bathrooms and break rooms for her and other staff.
Patrick McGuigan, an attorney representing Wedaa, told CNBC in a statement: “No employer is above the law, not even Jeff Bezos and the organizations he uses to find and hire people to work at his home and other locations. ectach and state labor and employment laws provide that working people must be paid for the work they do and that they must have the opportunity to do their work in workplaces that are free from discrimination, safe, sanitary, and healthy. All employers must follow these laws.”