Jeff Bezos "didn't see the Amazon I know" in a recent New York Times report, which painted a damning picture of how America's biggest retail store treats its female staff. The most shocking claim was of an employee who was pressed into going on a business trip just a day after giving birth to still born twins. Yet the story does not appear isolated. Now Julia Cheiffetz, executive editor at Harper Collins, has detailed why she was forced to leave Amazon. Having a newborn baby and a subsequent cancer diagnosis resulted in a mysterious cancellation of her employer-provided health insurance policy, and a rude-awakening upon returning to work - she was placed in an employee improvement plan.
Cheiffetz has this to say to the company's CEO:
"Jeff...You asked for direct feedback. Women power your retail engine. They buy diapers. They buy books. They buy socks for their husbands on Prime. On behalf of all the people who want to speak up but can’t: Please, make Amazon a more hospitable place for women and parents. Reevaluate your parental leave policies. You can’t claim to be a data-driven company and not release more specific numbers on how many women and people of color apply, get hired and promoted, and stay on as employees. In the absence of meaningful public data — especially retention data — all we have are stories. This is mine."
Amazon's dubious tax arrangements first alerted me to the stench of corporate arrogance. It was enough to make me change my subscription to Love Film, a by post DVD rental company in the UK that was bought out by Amazon before the launch of Prime. Cinema Paradiso offered a perfectly suitable alternative.
Since then I have had the occasional lapse and bought a few items from America's biggest retailer, seduced as I was by the breath of stock and the quality of service. Yet when it came to ordering "Minions Operation" for my goddaughter last week, I thought that Argos would suffice. I said to myself, "Where there is another convenient place to buy something online, I will try not to be lazy."
Then came these latest revelations, the latest corporate grotesquerie from a company that feels it is in a position to do what it wants. We need to make it remember who put it where it was. Let's boycott Amazon.