- Upper management and especially the boss are very careful to keep Amazon running like a business rather than a social club.
- According to several Amazon employees, bosses often make "disparate" comments that can be hurtful and embarrassing for some employees.
- A number of employees have received demotions and were left alone when managers decided that they were no longer a good fit for the company.
Black employees at Amazon say that they are the targets of racial slurs and disrespect. Amazon is one of the most admired brands in the world, so the world thinks that all their employees would be excited about going there to work. But apparently not, because many of them say that they are afraid to go because of the hostile climate at work.
A number of employees have received demotions and were left alone when managers decided that they were no longer a good fit for the company. This is part of the problem that is endemic within Amazon. Many employees are afraid that they will be subjected to further harassment by upper management or that their complaints will be brushed aside or looked over if they report such incidents.
“Amazon was not doing things in a way that represents best practices that would advance diversity and inclusion in any way that is meaningful and thoughtful,” Chanin Kelly-Rae, a current Global Manager of Diversity at Amazon said. “Let me add: Amazon appeared to be taking steps backward instead of forward.”
The fact is that upper management and especially the boss are very careful to keep Amazon running like a business rather than a social club. Nobody at Amazon is willing to be interviewed about their personal experiences – it’s not a popular move to do so. If you mention that you’re a minority employee, then the chances are that you will be subjected to further harassment.
“We struggle to bring [Black] folks in because there’s not a whole lot of desire, in my opinion, to go outside of our normal practices,” a current Amazon diversity manager said. “And then when they do get here, it’s harder to get promoted, harder to get top-tier rated, and easier to get lowest-tier. All those things combined make it so folks don’t wanna stay. And folks will leave Amazon and go take on more senior roles elsewhere.”
This is a prime example of why employees should report any abuse or discrimination they encounter – it needs to be taken seriously and dealt with. However, if you ask an employee what Amazon is like “on the job”, they will give you one answer: “Great!” So, what is Amazon-like “off the job”? Well, for starters, many of its sales staff are blacks. If you complain about poor treatment at work, chances are that you will be met with an immediate smile and maybe some snacks – the “professional” explanation might sound good, but it doesn’t ring true for most employees.
“We disagree with this characterization of Amazon’s culture and believe that it misrepresents the facts and is based on the views of a small number of individuals,” said Amazon spokesperson Jaci Anderson.
What many employees say about Amazon is that the office is often filled with racial tensions – and that’s not surprising. Many companies in the US and Europe hire large numbers of temporary workers, especially those who speak different languages. Some companies view these employees as a drain on their budgets, but according to Black employees at Amazon, this is never the case.
One Amazon employee said that employees feel “special” at work because there are so many people of color working there. “It’s a little bit like New Orleans,” he said. “You know, it’s full of all sorts of people from different cultures and ethnic backgrounds. When I first started at Amazon, I was just surprised that everyone there seemed so excited and positive about me but I’ve since found out why: Because I’m Black.” According to several Black employees at Amazon, the atmosphere at the company is sometimes a bit “racially charged” but not always.
According to several Amazon employees, bosses often make “disparate” comments that can be hurtful and embarrassing for some employees. ” Comments like, ‘you shouldn’t be here’ or ‘you’re over there playing the same game as us white workers,’ are made repeatedly. But employees say these types of comments are generally directed at light-skinned employees – which can make even the toughest worker feel insecure and scared. “It’s not personal; it’s just business,” one said.