Major tech companies are ruthlessly competitive pressure cookers where employees are expected to log in much more than 40 hours a week. That said, there are still standards of decency to which most of them adhere, and that’s why it’s been so disturbing to see evidence over the last couple of weeks that Amazon is a needlessly cruel working environment that goes well beyond any horror stories we’ve ever heard from former Apple, Google or Microsoft employees.
Julia Cheiffetz, a former Amazon employee who worked at the company for more than three years before moving on last summer, has written a heartbreaking and infuriating post on Medium that explains how Amazon treated her after she was diagnosed with cancer shortly after giving birth to her baby daughter.
In the midst of her treatment for cancer, Cheiffetz ran into a major problem with her employer-based health insurance that was seemingly cancelled out of the blue. The whole problem was caused by a “glitch” in Amazon’s system but she doesn’t think that lets the company off the hook.
“I chalked it up to a horrendous administrative error but remain disappointed that a company of Amazon’s size didn’t have better mechanisms in place to prevent something like that from happening during an employee’s maternity leave,” she explains.
After undergoing successful cancer treatment, Cheiffetz was ready to return to work. However, once she got back she was informed that she was being put on a performance improvement plan, which is usually a sign that the company is very close to firing you. She was also informed that “all but one of my direct reports — the people I had hired — were now reporting” to another employee.
At any rate, Cheiffetz is just one of many people that Amazon has deemed utterly disposable over the years as several others shared similarly horrifying experiences with The New York Times earlier this month.
Read about her whole experience working for Amazon here.