An Employment Law Case Study
Recently, the New York Times published an article called Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace, which thoroughly established anecdotes and claims by previous or anonymous employers who support the paper’s assertions that “the company is conducting an experiment in how far it can push white-collar workers to get them to achieve its ever-expanding ambitions.” To save face, the CEO and President, Jeff Bezos came out with a statement saying that Amazon would not tolerate the “shockingly callous management practices” that have been brought to life by the writers of the New York Times. Although his intent may be to reconcile the claims made in the article, the amount of support in the lengthy critique helps to sustain the claim that the technology powerhouse has unreasonable expectations of employees as well as unfair business practices. Employment law tries to discourage unfair business practices by setting up a federal system with labor laws that determine appropriate practices and employee rights for the American worker.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces these federal labor laws by prohibiting discrimination. These laws protract employees and job applicant against employment discrimination when it involves:
- Unfair treatment because of race, color, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40+), disability or genetic information.
- Harassment by managers, co-workers, or others in the workplace due to race, color, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40+), disability or genetic information.
- Denial of workplace accommodation that the employee needs because of religious beliefs or disability.
- Retaliation because employees complained about job discrimination, or assisted with a job discrimination lawsuit or investigation.
However, many fear the option of being the “whistle blower” to companies or mega giants like Amazon because of the repercussions that may end their careers either with said company or any other job opportunities in the future. Furthermore, many lawyers decide not to take on cases with discriminatory practices in business because without clear and concise evidence, it is difficult to win a suit based on a negative evaluation. Unfairness is not always illegal.
Case Study: Amazon
Amazon may be revolutionary in the technological world but it seems as though its business practice hinders on harsh and less forgiving internal management that defines the saying, don’t judge a book by its cover-not in the positive way. Clay Parker Jones, a consultant who aids in the evolution of business practices by older companies states that “organizations are turning up the dial, pushing their teams to do more for less money, either to keep up with the competition or just to stay ahead of the executioner’s blade.” At Amazon, the mutual feeling by many employees embodies the thought that it’s a place where overachievers can feel bad about themselves. Employees get managed out or are knocked down by performance reviews where their colleagues rank and criticize each other. The Anytime Feedback Tool allows for individuals to learn how to “diplomatically throw people under the bus” to supposedly secure the most talented individuals of the team. Based upon the many rules that Mr. Bezos outlines for employees to understand, this practice tries to implement that harmony is often overvalued. Amazonians are trained to disagree and commit to rip into colleagues’ ideas and work ethic with feedback that can be frank up to the point of painful. Amazon offers no charade that the company will cater to employees.
One fleeting example of this claim is the investigation that became public after many warehouse workers were either hospitalized or sustained heat-related injuries due to the unsafe working environment provided by Amazon. A doctor treating the workers called investigators because of how many people came into the office. In this eastern Pennsylvania warehouse, workers had to move heavy products and boxes in 100 degree heat during a heat wave in the summer. The only thing that Amazon supplied was ambulances to take away workers as they fell from the unsafe working conditions. To settle this unfair business practice, Amazon paid for air-conditioning units only after the investigation started getting more community concern.
The company also has a ghastly reputation for handling issues associated with working women. The glass ceiling that the gender gap creates allows for not a lone woman to be at the top of any leadership team. Due to pregnancy, families or being forceful in the workplace, women have been regulated out of core positions because of outside circumstances or the “competition- and –elimination” system. This “purposeful Darwinism” is specially aimed to keep women from gaining their full potential because of these ailments. Amazon may be singular but perhaps not quite as atypical as it claims.
Furthermore, if you or anyone you know is dealing with an unfair business that practices prejudice based on race, color, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40+), disability or genetic information or creates an unsafe working environment, please call the defenders of the proper treatment of employees at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA. Fortunately, state and federal laws forbids unfair business practices with substantial compensation and guard their legal right to be free from unlawful discrimination. To schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers, call the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA today at (727) 451-6900.
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