Amazon Denies Being a Modern Dehumanising White-collar Workhouse

By Gary Cutlack on at

An alleged insight into Amazon's working practises published by the New York Times made some bizarre claims about how the company treats its staff, suggesting it has an almost Scientology-like approach to mentally breaking its new hires to ensure they conform.

The NYT quotes members of staff who say they were expected to reply to emails sent at midnight, forget taking any holidays if they want to be seen as loyal and, worst of all, received poor job appraisals for taking time off work to attend to trivial personal matters like... having cancer. It was not a pretty read.

But none of it is true and Amazon is nice and there's free tea and coffee, said boss Jeff Bezos in response, with Bezos issuing an internal memo to his staff to deny the NYT's claims. Bezos explained: "The NYT article prominently features anecdotes describing shockingly callous management practices, including people being treated without empathy while enduring family tragedies and serious health problem. The article doesn't describe the Amazon I know or the caring Amazonians I work with every day."

He added: "It claims that our intentional approach is to create a soulless, dystopian workplace where no fun is had and no laughter heard. Again, I don’t recognize this Amazon and I very much hope you don’t, either. More broadly, I don't think any company adopting the approach portrayed could survive, much less thrive, in today’s highly competitive tech hiring market." [The Verge]