A white woman is suing e-commerce giant Amazon over a program that gives ‘Black, Latino and Native American entrepreneurs’ a $10,000 stipend to launch their own delivery startups, an offer the lawsuit calls ‘grossly unlawful racial discrimination’ “.
The online retailer delivers packages by contracting with local “delivery service partners”, apart from companies that transport packages from point A to point B. To “help reduce barriers to entry for Black, Latino, and Native American entrepreneurs,” Amazon’s website says: The company has created a “diversity grant” that offers minorities $10,000 to start their own businesses and become delivery service partners. .
“That means Black, Latino, or Native American-owned businesses receive a $10,000 stipend from Amazon to become delivery service partners, while white and Asian Americans who want to become Delivery service partners do not receive such an allowance and must foot the full bill for their start-up costs,” the lawsuit states.
The plaintiff, Crystal Bolduc, is asking a Texas district court to end the program and award damages to all those “who suffered unlawful racial discrimination because of it.” Filed July 20 by some of the nation’s most prominent appellate attorneys, the class action lawsuit argues that the stipends violate the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which prohibits racial discrimination in contracts. Bolduc, according to the lawsuit, “seeks to represent a category of all past and future applicants” to the program “who have experienced racial discrimination.”
Amazon also runs a “Black Business Accelerator” that gives black-owned businesses a “$500 credit to help with start-up and operating costs.” The move, while not the subject of the class action, is nonetheless another instance of “unlawful racial discrimination” at the online retailer, according to Bolduc’s lawsuit.
The programs are just two examples of the race-conscious policies that have proliferated in businesses and nonprofits across the United States, often in violation of federal law. Google sets strict caps on the number of white and Asian students universities can nominate for a prestigious graduate scholarship; Pfizer’s “breakthrough scholarship” does not allow white or Asian applicants at all. At Women Against Abuse, one of the largest domestic violence nonprofits in the United States, “BIPOC” employees received a larger stipend than white people to sit on a “task force on the Racial Equity Audit” – a policy that is now the subject of an ongoing investigation. complaint of discrimination.
The companies make no attempt to hide these seemingly discriminatory programs. Google and Pfizer both advertise their scholarships on company websites, even though civil rights lawyers say they violate federal law.
Amazon is equally cheeky. The lawsuit includes several screenshots of the retail giant’s website, which promotes the race-based stipend program under the headline “Commitment to Diversity.” On another webpage titled “Our Partners,” the company touts its Black Business Accelerator and claims the program is backed by the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Amazon did not respond to a request for comment.
This is the second time in a year that Amazon has been the subject of a reverse discrimination complaint. Last October, Jonathan Correll filed a class action lawsuit against the online retailer alleging it discriminates against white sellers by giving preferential advertising to minority businesses. Amazon asked a California district court to dismiss the lawsuit, in part on the grounds that Correll has never sold anything on Amazon and therefore lacks standing to challenge its advertising policies.
Bolduc may have a stronger case. Since she “cannot apply to become an Amazon delivery service partner without subjecting herself to racial discrimination,” according to her lawsuit, Bolduc “suffers prejudice” as a result of the stipend program and therefore has standing for the challenge.
Bolduc’s lawyers are a who’s who of the conservative legal movement. His lawsuit was brought by Gene Hamilton, the general counsel for America First Legal who oversaw the end of DACA during the Trump administration; Jonathan Mitchell, the architect of the Texas “heartbeat” law that effectively circumvented deer v. Wade; and Adam Mortara, the plaintiffs’ lead attorney in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvarda case pending before the Supreme Court that could prohibit affirmative action.
“Ms. Bolduc will not apply to become an Amazon delivery service partner until Amazon eliminates this racial discrimination policy,” the lawsuit states, “either by extending its $10,000 benefit to whites and Asians, either reducing or eliminating the advantage entirely”.