Jeff Bezos defends Amazon, and tell staff to escalate any abuse they see to HR


Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, has taken the unprecedented step of defending his firm’s working culture, after the New York Times published a scathing attack this weekend about the retailer’s so-called ‘shockingly callous working practices’ and other alleged abuses.

The article, which referenced more than 100 former and current employees at all levels, accused Amazon of having a ‘bruising’ management style that saw staff crying at their desks; saw them forced to work unreasonably long hours, and even included exiting workers who were suffering personal problems, including cancer.

The article claimed that if after-hours emails (sent after midnight or at weekends) weren’t promptly answered, texts and calls would follow.

In defending these claims to an email to staff, Bezos claimed the report did not “describe the Amazon I know.”

He asked staff to personally email him if they saw any of the practices described, adding: “If you know of any stories like those reported, I want you to escalate to HR.”

The New York Times claimed managers were forced to rate employees, and then fire their lowest performers.

Bezos said: “[The NYT article] claims our intentional approach is to create a soulless, dystopian workplace where no fun is had and no laughter heard. I don’t recognise this Amazon and I very much hope you don’t, either.”

In contrast to other US technology firms, Amazon rewards staff with bonuses or stock options rather than the sorts of eye-catching perks that Google, Facebook and ebay have.