Amazon is discriminating against Asian and white applicants in a grant program for delivery start-ups, a new class action lawsuit claims.
Dubbed the “Diversity Grant,” the program awards $10,000 stipends to Black, Latinx and Native American entrepreneurs to become delivery service partners, leaving out Asian and white hopefuls to “foot the entire bill for their startup costs,” according to the suit.
Plaintiff Crystal Bolduc filed the suit at a Texas district court on July 20, as per the Washington Free Beacon, which published the suit last week. The suit claims that the program breached the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which forbids racial discrimination in contracting.
Bolduc, a White woman, “seeks to represent a class of all past and future applicants” to the program “who have been subjected to racial discrimination,” according to the suit. She wants the court to shut down the program and make Amazon pay everyone “who has suffered unlawful racial discrimination” because of it.
The suit also cited Amazon’s “Black Business Accelerator,” a separate initiative that has been granting Black-owned businesses “$500 credit to assist with start-up and operational costs” since June 2021. Bolduc called the initiative another example of “unlawful racial discrimination.”
Other major companies have been hit with similar anti-Asian and anti-white claims. In 2018, a former YouTube recruiter accused Google of excluding Asian and white male applicants, and in one hiring round, “purging” all applications by “non-diverse employees.”
Just last week, Pfizer faced backlash after announcing a nine-year fellowship program that comes with internships, a fully funded master’s degree and future employment for “Black/African American, Latino/Hispanic and Native Americans.” With the exclusion of Asian and white applicants, critics have also alleged a violation of the 1866 Civil Rights Act, as well as Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which forbids racial discrimination in employment.
Last October, a man also filed a class action lawsuit against Amazon for allegedly discriminating against white sellers. However, the company asked the suit to be dismissed, partly because the plaintiff has never sold anything on its platform.
Bolduc, who is backed by prominent conservative lawyers, may have a stronger case. Since she cannot apply for the “Diversity Grant” without subjecting herself to racial discrimination, she is “suffering injury” and “therefore has the standing to challenge it,” the Free Beacon noted.
Featured Image (cropped) via Tony Webster (CC BY-SA 2.0)