Amazon has a wealth of human resources (HR) problems but its deeply flawed leave system is one of the worst. Both warehouse and corporate employees have had their paid and unpaid leave requests mishandled. Some employees have been fired for alleged “no-shows” while taking care of medical problems or family members, and others have been shorted paid leave and disability benefits.
Violating State and Federal Laws
In many cases, Amazon has violated the law. For example, in Washington State, Amazon mishandled a legally mandated unpaid leave claim for an employee facing a domestic violence crisis. Although this employee spent hours on the phone each week trying to manage her leave, she was fired for missing a deadline by 2 days – after she was on leave for 2 days dealing with a family emergency.
According to The New York Times:
“The Washington State attorney general’s office took up [this employee’s] case, calling Amazon’s leave reporting system ‘a failure’ and arguing that the company retaliated in violation of the state law.”
Of course, Amazon is fighting this case – and many others – as it scrambles to restructure its defective leave system and adhere to state and federal laws.
Real Consequences for Employees
Meanwhile, employees on parental leave are behind on bills and unable to get help. In desperation, one new mother wrote a letter directly to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and unwittingly prompted an internal investigation. Sadly, the investigation revealed that her situation was not unique. For at least a year and a half, Amazon has been shorting employees on leave at as many as 180 warehouses across the country.
Another couple had to sell their wedding rings to get by when Amazon suddenly terminated an employee’s disability benefits.
The system also fails when employees are ready to return to work, and some workers have lost weeks or months of income because the system was too backed up to process them. Even white-collar workers have a hard time arranging a routine leave.
Even Amazon’s HR Employees Are Struggling
Although Amazon has hired hundreds of employees to resolve “pain points” and “pay issues,” the HR department is struggling to catch up with leave and benefits for a workforce of 1.3 million people that grows every day. Many employees call just to get incorrect information from HR, and employees in Amazon’s HR department are burning out at an alarming rate, often needing to file leave claims of their own.
Amazon Employees Must Protect Their Rights
Amazon workers at every level need protection, especially when the company violates the law. If you work at Amazon and have had your leave claim mishandled, please do not hesitate to speak to an attorney.
Our team at Donati Law, PLLC has been handling situations like yours for more than 35 years. We can help you enforce the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and stand up to retaliation.
If you need time off to handle a serious medical condition or care for a new child or immediate family member, and Amazon jeopardizes your job as a result, step behind The Donati Shield.
Call us at (901) 209-5500 or send us a message online to tell us more about your situation and get the legal help you need.