Was Portrayal of Amazon’s Dirty Workplace on the Ball?

By | August 20, 2015

Last Sunday, I read an article in the New York Times that described Amazon as the worst place to work. Employee(s) with supposed major grievances spoke out about the corporation’s insensitivity towards health ailments, including cancer, and late night texts from the employer asking them to go above and beyond their job duties and respond right away. If they didn’t answer right away, they would get a follow up text asking why they didn’t respond right away

The article also highlighted how workers were encouraged to rip up one another’s ideas. The internal phone directory would also supposedly train colleagues on how to send secretive feedback to one another’s bosses.

As well, the article made a grim assertion that of all the newcomers seen filing in at the beginning of the week for training half of them would not make it past a few years.

In response to the allegations, Jeff Bezos said, “doesn’t describe the Amazon I know.” He asked employees aware of any issues to reach out to him directly via email or to get in touch with HR. “I strongly believe that anyone working in a company that really is like the one described in the NYT would be crazy to stay,” added Bezos.  But who would dare want to speak out to the CEO? That is unless they want to be fired the next day.

Speaking to a Senior Amazon employee, he told FoxBusiness.com ““I don’t share the experiences expressed in the article, and haven’t known anyone who does.”

An Amazon employee, Nick Ciubotariu, also wrote a response in disagreement. Mr. Ciubotariu, a head of infrastructure development at Amazon, posted the response on LinkedIn, and wrote that he had tried to post it as a comment to the NYTimes story, but the comment was not rejected.

Amazon has gone into major reputation management mode since the revelations. It’s offered to provide $,5000 in bonuses to all employees that quit last year. It has also provided a detailed report that stipulated 15,000 job hires since 2010. Jeff Bezos has also been very public about the approach and has not shunned the media.

What we are seeing is a case of dirty politics. New York Times is a competitor to another newspaper owned by Bezos, Washington Times. It probably got a tip from a former employee who was not happy with the way things were left at Amazon and they took the story in hopes that they would squash the competition.

However, we can only speculate what could have triggered such a controversial article. Most of us see Amazon from a customer’s point of view. The life inside its corporate offices is secrecy and it is a requirement that all employees must sign when they enter into an agreement for employment.  Only a handful of senior employees are allowed to talk to employers.

What’s your take on the subject? If you are a former employee of Amazon and would like to offer your opinion you can do so in anonymity.

About Alex Noudelman

Alex Noudelman is a digital marketing expert at iRISEmedia. He received his Honors B.A. from York University and a Masters in Adolescent Education from D’Youville College.

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