Amazon has threatened to fire several employees who have spoken out about their concerns surrounding the company’s environmental impact, according to emails obtained by The Washington Post.
The emails, sent to several employees who spoke previously with the newspaper about Amazon’s partnership with companies that exploit fossil fuels, advises them that their interviews with the Post and other media outlets violate the company’s external communications policy.
Further violations, the emails reportedly warn, could “result in formal corrective action, up to and including termination of your employment with Amazon.”
Maren Costa, a principal user-experience designer at Amazon, told the Post that she was called into a meeting with human resources employees to discuss the interview she gave the paper last year.
“It was scary to be called into a meeting like that, and then to be given a follow-up email saying that if I continued to speak up, I could be fired,” Costa told the newspaper. “But I spoke up because I’m terrified by the harm the climate crisis is already causing, and I fear for my children’s future.”
Representatives for Amazon told The Hill that the company’s external communications policy was well-established and that employees had internal means to share their concerns.
“Our policy regarding external communications is not new and we believe is similar to other large companies,” a company spokesperson said. “We recently updated the policy and related approval process to make it easier for employees to participate in external activities such as speeches, media interviews, and use of the company’s logo.”
“As with any company policy, employees may receive a notification from our HR team if we learn of an instance where a policy is not being followed,” the spokesperson continued. “Everyone at Amazon is a builder and encouraged to work within their teams to innovate on behalf of our customers, which includes suggesting improvements to how we operate through those internal channels.”