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Employee petition spurs Amazon to launch investigation into discrimination

Over 550 AWS employees spurred the tech giant to launch an independent probe.

 

Mikael Thalen

Tech

Published Jul 23, 2021   Updated Aug 4, 2021, 3:09 pm CDT

Amazon has launched an investigation into allegations of discrimination in its cloud-computing unit Amazon Web Services (AWS) after employees circulated a petition within the company, according to a new report.

The investigation, first reported by the Washington Post on Friday, was announced by AWS CEO Adam Selipsky.

The petition, which came in the wake of numerous discrimination lawsuits against Amazon, was reportedly signed by more than 550 employees.

Employees who signed the petition accused AWS of having an “underlying culture of systemic discrimination, harassment, bullying, and bias against women and under-represented groups,” the Post reports.

​​”Despite assertions from HR that the company ‘doesn’t condone harassment and discrimination’, and that claims investigated have been ‘unsubstantiated’, many staff 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, that the system is set up to protect the company and the status quo, rather than the employees filing the complaints,” the petition states, according to the Hill.

Selipsky has stated that the investigation, which he promises to “personally review” will be carried out by an independent firm.

“I share your passion for ensuring that our workplace is inclusive and free of bias and unfair treatment,” Selipsky wrote in a company email. “I can tell you we are committed to that outcome, as well as to specifically investigating any incident or practice that is inappropriate.”

Cindy Warner, a former employee who is currently suing Amazon and is cited in the petition, applauded the announcement in a blog post on Friday.

“I am honored and humbled that the petition identifies me as one of the people whose reports and experiences spurred them to call for change in ProServe and AWS,” Warner wrote.

The Daily Dot reached out to Amazon for comment, in response they sent the email from Selipsky.

You can read all of the Washington Post report here.


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*First Published: Jul 23, 2021, 12:25 pm CDT