November 29, 2016

Amazon employee attempts suicide at the company’s headquarters


Amazon-iconA worker at Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle, Washington, has attempted to kill himself by leaping four stories from one of the complex’s buildings, Spencer Soper has reported for Bloomberg. He has reportedly survived the fall, and is receiving medical treatment.

Soper reports that the man, one of twenty thousand workers headquartered at the site, had recently put in for a transfer to a different department. Instead of granting his request, supervisors placed him on an “employee improvement plan,” a probationary status that can lead to termination.

The man reportedly responded by sending an email to hundreds of employees, including company president Jeff Bezos, criticizing the treatment of his request and threatening to harm himself, then jumping.

In a statement, Amazon said, “Our thoughts are with our colleague as he continues to recover. He’s receiving some of the best care possible and we will be there to support him throughout the recovery process.”

The news inevitably called to mind a report by Jodi Kantor and David Streitfeld for the New York Times last year, in which Amazon was painted as grindingly competitive work environment where hours were bruising, job security could approach nil, and employee backstabbing was tolerated and even encouraged. They referred to Amazon’s employment practices as “an experiment in how far [the company] can push white-collar workers, redrawing the boundaries of what is acceptable.”

Amazon, meanwhile, has reported a very successful Cyber Monday, despite the nastiness of “anti-Trump trolls.”

We’ll report on this story as more information becomes available.

If you ever feel as though you might hurt yourself, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.