What It's Like Working For Amazon: Death, Sexual Harassment, And More
Currently

Amazon Ignored A Workplace Death And Sexual Harassment, And I Spoke To An Ex-Employee Who Was There

Amazon has received a good deal of criticism for its working conditions over the past year. After talking to someone who worked there, I can see why.

120

Earlier this month, The Guardian published a story detailing the circumstances around the death of an Amazon worker at the facility in Etna, Ohio.

Gretchen is a former Amazon employee that I spoke to for this article. She was working at the Etna facility that day. She remembers seeing her friend crying, visibly shaken, and explaining that someone had just died. She remembers someone telling her there were ambulances outside.

But, besides the words of fellow employees, the rest of the day ran uneventfully.

According to Gretchen, Amazon did not acknowledge the death until the next day.

According to Gretchen, the following day, at a routine meeting held before the workday begins, a moment of silence was given to Billy Foister, the man who had died just the day before in that very facility.

According to Gretchen, besides that? Nothing.

The facility continued along as if nothing had happened. Workers, even those who had seen Billy and tried to help him, were back at right just the next day, including the friend who was the first to tell Gretchen someone had died (who may have been the first person to see Billy, the Amazon "amnesty" worker mentioned by The Guardian).

While Gretchen no longer works at Amazon, she says her discontentment with their practices goes back much further than that day. Hot workrooms, restrictive sick leave, and draconian firing policies all left a lot to be desired.

Above all else, Gretchen says it was her experience after being sexually harassed that really broke the camel's back.

During her time at Amazon, which was just a few months, Gretchen says she was sexually harassed twice. Both times she said she felt like she was being punished for speaking out against the incidents. She says Amazon "disregarded how I was feeling, acting like it wasn't a big deal."

The first incident involved a few comments from a coworker that made her very uncomfortable. Gretchen simply stated that she would like to not have to interact with him. The response from Amazon's human resources, however, was to move Gretchen to a new area of the facility instead of the person who had made the comments.

The second incident, according to Gretchen, was far more physical. While going to her car, Gretchen says she was approached by someone who attempted to force themselves into the car with her. Gretchen remembers them saying, "If I wasn't married, I would throw you in the back of your car and show you a good time."

Gretchen says there is video footage of this incident, and that a friend also heard the comment.

Unlike the first incident, in which at least something was done (although unsatisfactory), after Gretchen informed human resources of the incident in the parking lot, she says nothing happened.

She still saw the person in question every day at work. There was nothing she could do to avoid them. Furthermore, she was presented with what she called a "behavioral warning" shortly after reporting the incident.

It's easy to see why so many negative stories flow out of Amazon facilities. Perhaps even easier to understand is Amazon's turnover rate. Whether it is the physical health of its employees or the mental trauma they have to deal with while on the job, it is very clear that it's time for Amazon to care more about its workforce.

And it's time for its customers to hold them accountable.

Report this Content
Currently

Taylor Swift Fearlessly Called Out Trump And White Supremacy, And I Am HERE For It

For Swift, who commands an 86 million fan platform on Twitter alone, explicitly condemning Trump's words is a huge deal.

After the death of George Floyd and the subsequent protests in Minneapolis, President Donald Trump had a tweet hidden by Twitter for "glorifying violence," which is against Twitter's terms of service.

Keep Reading... Show less

To be honest, I don't even know quite where to start with this one. Myka Stauffer and her husband are famous YouTube influencers who recently made the news for rehoming their adopted, autistic child.

I understand that meeting the needs of these children can be challenging. They may have verbal or physical challenges that make certain activities or communication more challenging than what it is designed to be. I fully get that Stauffer and her husband may not have fully understood what they were getting into when adopting a child who has an autism diagnosis. But what if this is doing more harm than good for this child?

Keep Reading... Show less
Currently

Make No Mistake, Trump Wants To Make Voting As Hard As Possible For You This November

Limiting vote-by-mail is a key component of the GOP's 2020 strategy.

President Trump made headlines this week when he falsely claimed that officials in Michigan and Nevada were mailing ballots to residents.

Keep Reading... Show less
Currently

In America, The Police Only Shoot Protestors Who Can't Fire Back, Not Those Armed With Assault Rifles

Police officers use extreme force against protestors who can't fire back, but not against those who are truly armed and dangerous.

George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, died on Monday after being pinned down by a police officer.

Keep Reading... Show less
Currently

21 Celebrities Speaking Out Against The Death Of George Floyd

These celebrities are pushing for justice to be served in Floyd's death and for us all to take a hard look at how privilege, white supremacy, and racism play out in explicit and implicit ways in our lives and in the world.

Unarmed black man George Floyd died after a Minneapolis police officer used his knee to pinned Floyd to the ground by the neck . Floyd's death has sparked protests in Minneapolis and across the country.

It has also created a spark of celebrity support for justice to be served in Floyd's death and for us all to take a hard look at how privilege, white supremacy, and racism play out in explicit and implicit ways in our lives and in the world.

Keep Reading... Show less
Currently

George Floyd's Death Highlights Internalized Anti-Blackness Within The Asian American Community

Tou Thao's role in the death of George Floyd teaches us one vital lesson: Being complacent means being complicit.

Recently, a video of George Floyd's violent arrest, which resulted in his death, has surfaced and drawn widespread outrage, especially following recent examples of hate crimes and police brutality. The video, which was taken in Minneapolis, shows a police officer kneeling on Floyd's neck while Floyd repeatedly states, "I can't breathe." Floyd lost consciousness during this incident and later died. The video and the later protests, which occurred after the police officers present were fired but not charged, have sparked further conversation around police brutality and the treatment of African Americans.

Keep Reading... Show less
Currently

The House Might Pass Another Stimulus Bill And College Students Are STILL Not Getting Checks

Instead of parents receiving only $500 for every dependent in their family, they would receive $1,200 per family member and up to $6,000 per household.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats have drafted up another coronavirus (COVID-19) stimulus bill that would eclipse the first as the largest economic stimulus legislation in U.S. history.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments