According to tech workers from the retail giant Amazon, the company has threatened to fire its workers if they speak out publically about the role of the company in the climate crisis.
An email shared with The Guardian shows the HR department of Amazon opening an investigation into one of its employees, Maren Costa, over comments she made to the media that called the company to do better in the management of the climate crisis.
What Did the Email Say about Maren Costa?
In the email, the worker is being told that she won’t be facing punishment at this point; however, if she makes future unauthorized comments, it may lead to formal corrective action and termination of her employment in the company.
A group of employees in Amazon that got together to speak up about better climate action by the company claim that several members have been questioned by the HR and legal representatives about the comments they made in public.
Some of them even got emails similar to the one Costa got and mentioned possible dismissal if speaking out against the company in the future.
What Did Costa Have to Say about the Letter from the Company?
Costa, a user experience principal designer said that it was hard to be called into a meeting like that and then to receive an email saying she’s facing dismissal if she continues speaking up.
However, she spoke up as she claims that she’s petrified from the impact of climate crisis and noted that she fears for the future of her children.
She believes that any policy claim that prevents her from talking about something that’s threatening her children and all other children is an issue for her.
What Did Amazon Have to Say about these Claims?
According to the company, they claim that they’ve only updated their external communications policy for the staff.
They explain it’s not intended for any particular part of their workers.
A spokesperson for the company noted that the policy for external communications isn’t new and that it’s similar to the ones that other larger companies have.
They’ve only made recent updates to ease employees’ participation in speeches, interviews, and uses of the company’s logo.
Similarly to any other policy, their employees may get a notification from their HR if they learn about the policy not being followed properly.
The threats to Costa and other workers happened after the company pledged to fight off climate crisis.
They were supposed to use 100 percent renewable source of energy by the year of 2030 and before going carbon neutral by 2040.
Amazon Needs to Improve, Claim Workers Worried about Company Contribution to Climate Crisis
However, according to software engineer at the company Victoria Liang, their newly-updated policy has a chilling impact on workers who have the backbone to speak up and challenge the company to improve.
She claims that this policy aims to silence discussion around information that’s publically available.
She asserts that it has nothing to do with the protection of confidential information which is linked with a different set of policies.
The Amazon Employees for Climate Justice emphasize they’ll continue pushing the company to do better on climate, despite the threats of being dismissed if they speak up publically.