Briefing

Former Amazon warehouse worker in Ottawa alleges a culture of harassment and bullying

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Rachel Westley claimed she was harassed by her manager and punished for reporting the incident. She alleged she was subsequently denied a promotion she said she deserved and compensation for a workplace injury. Westley quit after six months at the distribution centre. Amazon said “appropriate action was taken” in response to Westley’s complaints and that it has “zero tolerance for retaliation against employees who raise concerns.” (Ottawa Citizen)

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Talking point: The allegations follow the high-profile departures of several Amazon employees who had spoken out against the company’s business practices, including working conditions at its warehouses in the U.S. Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa were fired from the company in April after circulating a petition about COVID-19-related health risks for warehouse workers. Tim Bray, veteran Canadian engineer and a former vice-president at Amazon Web Services, resigned in response to those firings, which he said were “designed to create a climate of fear.” The incidents coincide with substantial growth for the already-enormous tech firm, as the pandemic accelerates momentum in the e-commerce space.