An internal letter to Amazon’s human resources department, according to a recent report, accuses mistreatment of women within the company’s Prime membership business, including harassment and lopsided growth chances for men vs women.
Insider reported Monday that the Prime team had been anonymously accused in March of being “institutionally biased toward women,” citing a letter to a former director of diversity and inclusion as well as statements from 11 former and current Prime employees. The memo’s author described a culture in which women were frequently overlooked for advancements, demeaned and condescending to, and “more likely to be performance managed,” according to Insider.
Insider cited a number of other instances of apparent institutional inequality at the company’s corporate level. Five women who worked for the internet company, for example, filed discrimination claims earlier this year, alleging harassment as well as racism and gender discrimination. The anonymous memo’s charges were not tied to a specific time period, according to the Insider story.
The email was apparently issued to Kristen Puchek, Amazon’s chief of equity, diversity, and inclusion, who left the firm in April. An Amazon spokesperson told The Verge in an email that the allegations of gender inequality and the letter in question “do not reflect the culture of Amazon or the Prime team,” adding that the Prime organization has worked to “foster a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture in which all employees feel supported and successful.”
“Women’s presence on the team has increased in recent years, and expanding women’s presence in senior leadership roles remains a significant priority,” according to the spokesman. “In addition to examining how we acquire, develop, and promote workers, the Prime leadership team has set aggressive goals for our organization’s growth in 2021, including tripling the number of women in leadership roles and focusing on the retention of women at the Senior Manager level and above.”
The business appeared to refute the charges in a statement to Insider. According to a spokeswoman for the corporation, 18 women on the Prime membership team were promoted in the previous year, and that promotions for women were equal to those for men.
Although Amazon appears to promote women, there is often a disconnect between what it says and what we’ve seen from the corporation in the past.