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USA: Amazon allegedly threatens employees protesting company's environmental policies; incl. company comment

Amazon has warned at least three employees, who are members of Amazon Employees for Climate Justice and have publicly critized the company's environmental polices, that they could be fired for future violations of its communications policy. In response to the September protest against climate change, the company changed its communications policy, requiring employees to have a business justification and approval from the company before speaking with the press about the company's internal affiars. Employees described the emails as intimidating and a clear effort to silience its employees' criticisim of Amazon's practices. 

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13 January 2020

Amazon threatens to fire climate activists

Author: Matt Day, Bloomberg

A group of Amazon.com Inc. employees who pushed the company to combat climate change say Amazon has threatened to fire some of them if they continue to speak out about their employer’s internal affairs...  Maren Costa, a user experience designer, was threatened with termination after speaking to the Washington Post... “This is not the time to shoot the messengers,” Costa said in the release. “This is not the time to silence those who are speaking out.”... Jaci Anderson, an Amazon spokesperson, said... Employees are “encouraged to work within their teams,” and may suggest “improvements to how we operate through those internal channels.”...[E]mployees say Amazon changed its policy on workers speaking to the media after workers had announced the September walkout. The updated policy requires employees to seek approval before speaking about Amazon in any public forum in which they’re identified as an Amazon employee... “I encourage you to review the policy again and in the future anytime you may consider speaking about Amazon’s business in a public forum,” Eric Sjoding, an employee in Amazon’s human resources group...

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13 January 2020

Amazon threatens to fire critics who are outspoken on its environmental policies

Author: Joseph Pisani, Washington Post

An email sent to Maren Costa, a principal user-experience designer at the company... warned that future infractions could “result in formal corrective action, up to and including termination of your employment with Amazon.”... “It was scary to be called into a meeting like that, and then to be given a follow-up email saying that if I continued to speak up, I could be fired... But I spoke up because I’m terrified by the harm the climate crisis is already causing... It’s our moral responsibility to speak up — regardless of Amazon’s attempt to censor us — especially when climate poses such an unprecedented threat to humanity”... Kowalski acknowledged receiving a similar letter from Sjoding but declined to comment on it... [A]fter an employee climate group emailed colleagues about the Sept. 20 walkout, Amazon updated its communications policy to create “a more streamlined and user-friendly way to request PR approval to participate in external activities”... The policy requires a “business justification” for any communications and notes that approval could take up to two weeks. [Emily] Cunningham, a user-experience designer, said she was informed in an October meeting with a human resources executive that she had violated the company’s recently updated policy... "It was a clear attempt to silence me and other workers who have been speaking out about the climate crisis"...

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