14 Jun The Working Conditions of Amazon Employees
The Poor Working Conditions of Amazon Employees: How can an employee identify and respond to a dangerous work environment?
The demand for affordable online shopping has escalated since the spread of COVID-19 and the resulting lockdowns the public has had to endure. Amazon, a massive online company, has become extremely popular for the variety of their products and the speed in which products arrive at the home. Social media platforms, like TikTok, have influenced the popularity of ordering Amazon products, highlighting that their products supply a convenience that people should not live without.
However, the convenience that consumers are experiencing is at the expense of the health and safety of Amazon warehouse workers. These workers are putting themselves at risk every day in order to continue providing the convenient brand that Amazon prides themselves on. In 2020, 600 workers signed a petition for Amazon to implement safer work conditions.
Amazon Working Conditions
In the article, I’m not a robot’: Amazon workers condemn unsafe, grueling conditions at warehouse reported by the Guardian in 2020, they demonstrated that many employees at the Amazon warehouse asserted that their working conditions were grueling. A former employee even compared Amazon’s workplace atmosphere to prison. Employees have revealed that Amazon is not taking responsibility for prioritizing safe work conditions and has continued to tolerate consistent injuries at work. Employees are admitting that their injuries have never been given the attention they deserve, often minimizing the severity of injuries where the discomfort or pain the employee is experiencing remains ignored.
There have also been assertions that Amazon ignores accommodations that their employees require to feel safe. A former employee who was visually impaired needed certain accommodations to be implemented around the workplace, like brighter lines painted in the warehouse, that Amazon never implemented.
Further, many Amazon employees admit that workers get fired very regularly. One worker, who worked for the New York warehouse, stated that he was required to pack 700 packages per hour. These high expectations are demanded, and many people have been fired for not meeting these absurd goals. The rate in which workers are packaging items or fulfilling their specific roles is always being recorded, which Amazon calls “performance expectations”, and are very difficult for workers to fulfill.
How does an employee identify that working conditions are unhealthy or dangerous?
Employees can assess the work environment by looking inwards and reflecting on how their body is reacting to the atmosphere. For example, paying attention to how fatigued your body is feeling, how safe you feel, or how much your eating habits have changed, can all be signifiers that you work in poor conditions.
There are also factors that an employee can notice externally. An employee could notice a lack of communication between workers and multiple levels of the business. For example, the goals that the Amazon spokespeople were advocating did not match the work experience in the warehouse.
Further, a good indication that the work environment is inadequate is a high turnover rate. If many employees are being fired, quitting, and being newly hired, this can be a sign that the turnover rate is very high. Fast turnover means workers are becoming unhappy quickly, are finding too few reasons to stay, or consistently missing targets that are set by the management division.
How may an employee respond to poor working conditions?
Employees may find it helpful to look for co-workers that are experiencing the same issues. This could benefit all employees who feel unsafe, and make struggling employees feel like they have a support system. If management does not take action on consistent complaints, having a collective response and action plan could help create change.
An employee should also record their activity at the workplace. This means that an employee could save any type of communication via email, telephone, meetings, etc. This will be helpful when filing a claim because supplying sufficient proof when issuing a complaint is important.
Further, it could be beneficial for the employee to plan how they will leave the workplace and arrange for alternate job options. This could help the employee feel less trapped and know they have safer options if work conditions do not change.
If you are an employee experiencing unsafe work conditions, please contact KCY at LAW by filling in an online consultation request or contact us by phone at 905-639-0999 to book your consultation today.