Back in 2015, Amazon came under fire following a shocking piece from the New York Times exposing the company’s toxic cut-throat working environment. While CEO Jeff Bezos was quick to deny the claims, it seems not all is calm behind the curtain.
A distressed Amazon employee has jumped off a building at the company’s Seattle headquarters in what police have described as a suicide attempt, Bloomberg reports. The incident occurred on Monday around 8:45AM local time. The man has survived the fall and has since been taken to a hospital in Seattle, police said.
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According to a person familiar with the matter, the employee, whose name wasn’t revealed by authorities, sent a distraught email note to CEO Jeff Bezos and co-workers prior to leaping off. Bloomberg writes:
The man had recently put in a request to transfer to a different department, but was placed on an employee improvement plan, a step that can lead to termination if performance isn’t improved, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing company personnel matters.
The anonymous source further said that, in the email, the employee voiced his frustrations with how Amazon handled his transfer request and hinted that he might harm himself.
“Our thoughts are with our colleague as he continues to recover,” Amazon said in a statement. “He’s receiving some of the best care possible and we will be there to support him throughout the recovery process.”
Amazon isn’t the only company that has faced accusations over its exploitative working conditions. Back in 2009, Chinese Foxconn factory employee Sun Danyong committed suicide after his house was raided following the disappearance of an iPhone prototype.
What’s worrying is this isn’t an isolated case. More recently, another Foxconn factory employee jumped to his death from one of the company’s buildings after only one month at the job.
To come back to Amazon: While last year Bezos brushed off the incidents brought to light by the New York Times as “isolated anecdotes”, I’m not so sure this sort of excuse will fly this time around – and nor should it.
If you or anyone you know is considering suicide or experiencing intense feelings of anxiety or depression, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.