Amazon has stated that it will conduct an independent audit to “evaluate any disparate racial impacts on our nearly one million U.S. hourly employees resulting from our policies, programs, and practices,” according to CNN. New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli submitted the shareholder proposal to conduct an audit on behalf of the New York State Common Retirement Fund.
One year ago, Amazon shareholders began pushing the company to conduct a racial equity audit “to address what the shareholders described as controversies around the company’s hiring practices and its ability to protect warehouse workers.”
“Because of the pattern and magnitude of controversies repeatedly facing Amazon, we believe that it is in shareholders’ best interest for Amazon to proactively identify and mitigate risks through an independent racial equity audit,” shareholders said in their request.
Former US Attorney General Loretta Lynch will lead the audit and conduct it with others at the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. The firm stated they would provide the findings to the public, but did not provide a specific timeline. A spokesperson for DiNapoli’s office, Matthew Sweeney, expressed some concerns to CNN Tuesday.
“Comptroller DiNapoli and the state’s pension fund look forward to learning more about Amazon’s proposed racial equity audit, but remain concerned that the company has provided few details and has made no assurances that the audit will be independent,” Sweeney told CNN Business in a statement Tuesday.
Business Insider reported Amazon was hit with five lawsuits in 2021, both alleging racial discrimination and retaliation within their warehouses. Employee Charlotte Newman also sued the company, alleging the company “devalues” Black employees. According to the most recent company data, less than 4% of senior-level managers at Amazon were Black or Hispanic in 2020 – despite the overall hiring of those groups being up.