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Ex-Amazon manager says she scoured applicants’ social media to determine race, gender

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A former Amazon manager alleges that her supervisor made her scour the social media accounts of applicants to determine their race and gender, and then fired her when she complained.

Lisa McCarrick filed a lawsuit against an Amazon unit on Monday in the Superior Court of California, Alameda County, claiming retaliation, wrongful termination, failure to prevent discrimination and violation of the state’s labor code.

The 38-year-old, who lives in Rocklin, about 20 miles northeast of Sacramento, is also suing for violation of the state’s Equal Pay Act, alleging that she made significantly less than her male colleagues although they were doing similar work.

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McCarrick joined Amazon as a loss prevention manager in July 2018 and was promoted to a regional manager five months later, the suit says.

After her promotion, her supervisor instructed McCarrick to go through the social media profiles of job candidates “for the purpose of ascertaining race/ethnicity and gender,” according to the lawsuit.

McCarrick knew that Amazon had been criticized in the past for a lack of diversity in the workplace and thought what she was being asked to do was unlawful, according to the lawsuit.

In September, she submitted a written complaint raising her concerns about being told to scour applicants’ social media accounts and also the pay disparity between herself and her male coworkers. Two months later, in November, she was called into a meeting with human resources and the director of loss prevention informing her that she was fired.

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“During the meeting in which she was informed of her termination, it was communicated to her that her direct supervisor had admitted to utilizing social media accounts for the purpose of ascertaining race and ethnicity,” the suit states. “Plaintiff’s protected complaints of race/ethnicity discrimination were substantial motivating reasons for the decision to terminate her employment.”

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The loss prevention director also told McCarrick during the meeting that her male colleagues do make more than her but “that happens all the time at Amazon,” according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims that throughout McCarrick’s employment with Amazon she always received positive performance evaluations but she was told that the reason for her termination was due to “not meeting expectations.”

McCarrick is seeking damages. Amazon did not immediately return a request for comment.

Minyvonne Burke is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.

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Amazon’s AWS logs third outage this month, affecting Slack, Epic Games Store, Asana and more

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Amazon’s crucial web services business AWS is experiencing problems today, with issues affecting services like Slack, Imgur, and the Epic Games store for some users. It’s not looking good if you’re working from home, with some Slack users unable to view or upload images, and work management tool Asana also hit by the outages. As of 6:13 AM PST, Amazon said it had restored power to affected servers, but users may still experience issues going forward.

In an incident update, Slack said its services were “experiencing issues with file uploads, message editing, and other services.” Asana said the problems constituted a “major outage,” with “many of our users unable to access Asana.” Epic Games Store said “Internet services outages” were “affecting logins, library, purchases, etc.”

It’s the third time in as many weeks that problems with AWS have had a significant effect on online services. Two incidents earlier this month involving AWS ended up knocking out a huge array of platforms and products, taking out streaming sites like Netflix and Disney Plus as well as smart home devices like security cameras from Ring and Wyze.

Today’s outages seem less widespread but still notable, with some users unable to access services entirely and others merely experiencing intermittent faults. DownDetector.com shows reports of issues with the platforms mentioned above, as well as news aggregator Flipboard, online learning site Udemy, dating app Grindr, streaming service Hulu, and IoT services from Honeywell, Life360, and Samsung’s SmartThings.

The official AWS service health dashboard blamed the issues on power outages in a single data center, affecting one Availability Zone (USE1-AZ4) within the US-EAST-1 Region. At 6:13 AM PST, the company said it had restored power to the data center and was making progress recovering the affected instances. However, users will likely continue to notice the effects of these outages for a while longer while systems are updated and restored.

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Update Wednesday, December 22nd, 8:36AM ET: Updated story to add responses from affected services.

Update Wednesday, December 22nd, 9: 34AM ET: Updated story to note that AWS has restored to power to the affected data center.

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