Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has responded to an article in the New York Times saying that employees at his company regularly cry at their desks because of a vicious workplace culture. Above, he is pictured in October
Bezos said that the piece 'doesn’t describe the Amazon I know or the caring Amazonians I work with every day'. Above, Amazon's corporate offices in Sunnvale, California
- New investigation claims Amazon employees often break down in tears
- Report claims regular sackings to create culture of 'purposeful Darwinism'
- Founder Bezos says 'shockingly callous management practices' are not part of 'the Amazon I know or the caring Amazonians I work with every day'
- Former and current employees said that workers judged harshly by bosses after not working because of miscarriages or cancer treatments
Jeff Bezos, 51, who founded the site in 1994, sent an internal memo to staff Sunday in which he denied the 'shockingly callous management practices' in a New York Times report.
In the report, published Saturday, former employees were quoted as saying that they regularly see workers crying at their desks and others were judged harshly by bosses after not putting in long hours because of miscarriages or cancer diagnoses.
'The article doesn’t describe the Amazon I know or the caring Amazonians I work with every day,' Bezos said in his email to his roughly 180,000 employees.
'You can also email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.'
'Even if it’s rare or isolated, our tolerance for any such lack of empathy needs to be zero.'
The Times reportedly spoke to more than 100 current and former employees at Amazon, where bosses are said to push staff so far past breaking point that they ‘practically combust’.
Regular sackings to keep workers on their toes were described by one HR manager as ‘purposeful Darwinism’.
According to the expose, the company’s best workers are known as ‘Amabots’ – because they are so ‘at one with the system’ they are almost cyborgs.
However, Bezos said that he doesn't 'think any company adopting the approach portrayed could survive, much less thrive, in today’s highly competitive tech hiring market', according to Geek Wire.
Amazon took $8billion in sales last year, while founder Jeff Bezos ranks as the world's sixth richest man with a fortune of $46.9billion, according to Forbes.
The company is worth an estimated $250billion and last month surpassed Walmart as the most valuable retailer in the country.
It's stock price on NASDAQ at one point on Monday morning decreased four points, though it has rebounded and gained nearly two points as of 11.45am.
One employee in the marketing department said he had seen virtually all his colleagues in tears at the office, while another recruit said that when they ‘hit the wall’ due to the fast pace, they were told: ‘Climb the wall.’
CEO JEFF BEZOS'S FULL MESSAGE TO AMAZON EMPLOYEES
Amazon recently surpassed Walmart as the most valuable retailer in the country and is thought to be expanding to 50,000 employees at its Seattle offices (foreground, pictured in 2013)
Looking at life inside Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle – set to expand to ten million sq ft – the Times piece describes how new recruits are told to forget the ‘poor habits’ they learned at previous jobs.
It claims workers put in at least 80 hours a week and are sent emails long past midnight, followed up by text messages if they are not answered.
Employees are encouraged to report on their colleagues’ progress to bosses using a feedback tool, which lets them criticize or praise others discreetly.
Bezos is ranked as the world's sixth richest man with a fortune of $46.9billion, according to Forbes
An example comment is: ‘I felt concerned about his inflexibility and openly complaining about minor tasks.’
Former marketing executive Bo Olson described the ruthless culture, saying: ‘You walk out of a conference room and you’ll see a grown man covering his face.
‘Nearly every person I worked with I saw cry at their desk’.
The Times said that multiple employees had been put on 'performance improvement plans' -warnings about poor work - after suffering miscarriages or being diagnosed with breast cancer.
The piece claims the company’s mantra is ‘conflict brings about innovation’ – and that staff who succeed can be rewarded with stock options that double their pay.
The retail giant has drawn up 14 ‘leadership principles’ which are inscribed on cards, the top of which is ‘customer obsession’.
Such is the devotion that Amazon requires, an ex-employee who sold gift cards to other firms claimed she once did not sleep for four days straight.
The investigation claims that Amazon retains workers by making them repay some of their signing bonus if they leave within a year. They also have to return some relocation money if they resign within two years.
Former employee Chris Brucia, who worked on a new Amazon fashion website in 2012, said he was savaged by his boss for half an hour during a performance review which left him thinking he would be fired.
Employees detailed harsh treatment at the hands fo their bosses, including Above, employees at a distribution center in Germany get items ready for delivery
But at the end, the boss told him: ‘Congratulations, you’re being promoted.’
His manager then gave him a hug, which he was too shocked to return.
A spokesman for Amazon declined to comment, to the Mail, but pointed to an online blog by Nick Ciubotariu from its Search Experience department.
Bezos also encouraged those in the company to read the post, which says claims in the Times piece were ‘completely false’ and accused the authors of writing sensationalist ‘reader bait’.
Ciubotariu, who has worked at the company for 18 months, said that the main principle at Amazon is 'obsession' with its customers and that no one had ever told him to work nights or answer late emails.
He also claimed that the company does not practice 'culling of the staff' annually. The Times claim that a spokesman confirmed the practice.