Amazon Threatens to Fire Employees for Speaking Publicly on Climate Change
The workers at global retail giant Amazon have revealed that their employer has threatened to fire employees for speaking publicly about the company’s contribution to climate change. A group called Amazon Employees for Climate Justice said that several members have been questioned by legal and HR representatives about their public comments. Some received follow-up emails that threaten dismissal for speaking out in the future.
Amazon Employees for Climate Justice is a group of employees banded together to call for stringent climate actions by the company.
The warnings to the employees from Amazon started after one employee, Maren Costa made some comments to the media that called for the company to do more to tackle the threats posed by climate change.
The company is facing criticism for threatening to fire the employees for speaking out their fears on climate change and calling for strong actions on the same by the company.
After the incident, Amazon’s human resources department launched an investigation into Costa. Costa has been warned via email saying that she will not face punishment at this point – but that any future comments unauthorized by Amazon “may result in formal corrective action, to and including termination of the employment with Amazon”.
According to the company, it started updating its external communications policy for staff in spring last year and it was not aimed at any particular group of employees. The new policy requires staff members to seek authorization from Amazon before talking in a public forum while identified as an employee.
A company spokeswoman said,
Our policy regarding external communications is not new and, we believe, is similar to other large companies. We recently updated the policy and related approval process to make it easier for employees to participate in external activities such as speeches, media interviews, and use of the company’s logo. As with any company policy, employees may receive a notification from our HR team if we learn of an instance where a policy is not being followed.
The employees said that the company updated its policy on staff speaking to press and on social media in early September, a day after 1,500 Amazon employees planned to walk out of work to join a global climate strike inspired by young Swedish activist Greta Thunberg.
Around 8,000 Amazon employees had signed an open letter to Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive, in April last year. In the letter, employees called for concrete climate goals; to cancel contracts with oil and gas companies and to stop donations to politicians who deny the reality of the climate crisis.
Amazon threatened to fire employees after it had announced a “climate pledge” in September. In this pledge, the company committed to using 100 percent renewable energy by 2030, before becoming carbon neutral by 2040. In order to achieve this goal, Amazon has ordered 100,000 fully electric delivery vehicles for its fleet.
The group’s claims of being threatened come not long after Google faced harsh criticism for firing four employees who spoke out against working conditions at their company. The USsaid last month it would investigate those terminations.
Via: The Guardian