Ex-Housekeeper Calls Working Conditions Unsafe at Bezos' Home

Employees sometimes had to climb out a window to reach a bathroom, lawsuit says
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 4, 2022 3:50 PM CDT
Ex-Housekeeper Calls Working Conditions Unsafe at Bezos' Home
Jeff Bezos speaks at the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, in November 2021.   (Paul Ellis/Pool Photo via AP)

A former housekeeper for Amazon founder Jeff Bezos says she and other employees suffered unsafe working conditions that included being forced to climb out a laundry room window to get to a bathroom anytime the Bezos family was home. In a lawsuit filed in King County Superior Court in Seattle this week, Mercedes Wedaa, a longtime housekeeper for wealthy Seattle-area residents including the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, claims she was discriminated and retaliated against when she complained about a lack of rest breaks or an area where staff could eat, the AP reports.

Harry Korrell, an attorney for Bezos, called the claims absurd and said Wedaa filed the lawsuit against Bezos and two companies that manage his properties and personal investments, Zefram and Northwestern, only after her demand for a $9 million payout was rejected. "Ms. Wedaa made over six figures annually and was the lead housekeeper," Korrell said in an emailed statement. "She was responsible for her own break and meal times, and there were several bathrooms and breakrooms available to her and other staff." The statement said Wedaa was dismissed because of her job performance. Forbes puts Bezos' wealth at $151 billion.

When the Bezos family was home, the housekeepers were allowed to enter the house only to perform cleaning functions, the complaint says. That created situations in which housekeepers could not exit the laundry room because its only door led into the residence, it says. Instead of going out that door, housekeepers for a period of 18 months would sometimes have to climb out the laundry room window onto a path that led to a mechanical room, enter through the mechanical room, and go downstairs to a bathroom. "Because there was no readily accessible bathroom, Plaintiff and other housekeepers spend large parts of their day unable to use the toilet even though they needed to," the filing says. "As a result of this, the housekeepers frequently developed Urinary Tract Infections." The suit seeks unspecified damages.

(More Jeff Bezos stories.)

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