Amazon hires outside investigators after employee petition alleges discrimination and harassment
Amazon (AMZN) has hired outside investigators to probe the internal culture of part of its cloud computing operations after employees circulated a petition alleging “systemic discrimination, harassment, bullying and bias against women and under-represented groups.”
The petition, viewed by CNN Business, specifically addresses concerns among staffers within an Amazon Web Services (AWS) unit known as ProServe, which assists enterprise customers with adopting its cloud computing products.
It alleges that “many staffers have expressed concerns that the internal processes relied upon to investigate and defend AWS’s handling of these matters are not fair, objective or transparent.” The petition claims that “the system is set up to protect the company and the status quo, rather than the employees filing the complaints.”
The Washington Post, which first reported the news Friday, said the petition was signed by more than 550 employees.
It’s just the latest example of a Big Tech company facing backlash from its own employees over workplace culture.
Employees at Google, Facebook, and Apple have in recent years banded together to vocalize concerns about internal issues in an effort to incite change.
In an email to the petition’s authors on July 16, AWS CEO Adam Selipsky said he shares the “passion for ensuring that our workplace is inclusive and free of bias and unfair treatment.” He also confirmed that the company has “retained an outside firm to investigate and understand any inappropriate conduct that you or others may have experienced or witnessed.”
“This firm is experienced and objective, and I personally will review their independent findings, which will help guide any further actions,” Selipsky said, in an email sent on behalf of himself and Amazon newly appointed CEO Andy Jassy, the 24-year Amazon veteran who previously helped build and lead AWS.
Amazon said the outside firm it hired is a women-owned-and-led investigative firm but declined to share the firm’s name.
It also said it is taking other steps internally, including having team leaders work on a broad assessment of the ProServe culture.