SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – After enduring four years of persistent bullying and harassment from his co-workers, Michael Kopp, a 29-year-old employee at the Amazon Fulfillment Center in San Bernardino, has been awarded $1.2 million in damages in a civil lawsuit against Amazon.com Services. Kopp, who was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome in the third grade, faced difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication throughout his life.
Kopp, determined to keep his job, suffered physical tolls as a result of the persistent bullying. He experienced vomiting, dizziness, diarrhea, sweats, and great stomach pain. Eventually, Kopp reached his limit and on Sept. 21, 2020, he went to work with a doctor’s note authorizing a day off due to work-related stress. However, he was told that Amazon did not accept doctor’s notes and that he had to work. Feeling helpless, Kopp walked out and never returned.
Following his departure, on Oct. 15, 2020, Amazon fired Kopp, accusing him of job abandonment. In response, Kopp filed a lawsuit against the company. The case went to trial, and on Nov. 2, a jury awarded Kopp $1.2 million. The jury concluded that Amazon intentionally inflicted emotional distress on Kopp by failing to properly address his complaints and stop the harassment.
While the jury agreed on the emotional distress claim, they deadlocked on Kopp’s disability harassment claim. As a result, there will be a retrial focused on that specific claim. In civil trials in California, at least nine out of 12 jurors must agree in favor of the plaintiff for them to prevail.
Kopp, who had been an exemplary employee, faced relentless abuse from his co-workers due to his Asperger’s syndrome, dyslexia, and difficulty reading. The lawsuit revealed that his co-workers frequently made venomous comments, including derogatory slurs and threats. One incident involved Kopp being struck in the head by a 4-pound box thrown by a colleague. Kopp reported the incidents to his manager but felt unsupported. The bullying continued despite his repeated complaints to management.
This case sheds light on the ongoing workplace issues that Amazon faces. The company has been criticized by current and former employees for harsh working conditions, safety concerns, and unfair treatment. Kopp’s experience adds to the growing number of complaints against Amazon.
Leaving Amazon has been a significant blow to Kopp, who has struggled to find stable employment and maintain financial stability. He has lost his car and health insurance, relying on his great-grandmother for support. Despite the challenges, Kopp can now move on and seek justice in his disability harassment claim against Amazon.
In conclusion, Michael Kopp’s four-year ordeal of bullying and harassment at the Amazon Fulfillment Center in San Bernardino has resulted in the company being ordered to pay him $1.2 million. The jury found that Amazon’s failure to address Kopp’s complaints and stop the harassment inflicted intentional emotional distress on him. Kopp will now continue his fight for justice in the retrial focused on his disability harassment claim. This case highlights the ongoing workplace concerns raised against Amazon, including harsh working conditions and unfair treatment of employees.