Global e-commerce giant Amazon allows its workers, who are about to be fired, to plead their case with a jury consisting of their co-workers. The workers who lose the case get to choose between a severance pay or a performance-improvement plan. However, reports suggested only 30% of employees who appeal their manager's criticisms are able to keep their jobs.
The employee appeal process is Amazon’s latest experiment in managing its growing workforce of more than 500,000. The company announced the program last year. According to a Bloomberg report, the executives recognized that poorly defined roles, dysfunctional teams, and peremptory managers were among the factors that often remained unexamined, according to a person familiar with the matter. Workers facing termination also lacked a forum to discuss such factors.
Eighteen months after its debut, the hearing process has created resentment and raised questions about fairness, according to current and former workers as well as attorneys familiar with their situations. “It’s a kangaroo court,” says George Tamblyn, a Seattle employment lawyer who helped one former Amazon worker plan her appeal earlier this year. “My impression of the process is it’s totally unfair.”
Talking to People Matters, Amazon's Spokesperson said, "Pivot is a uniquely Amazonian program that was thoughtfully designed to provide a fair and transparent process for employees who need support. When employees are placed in Pivot, they have the option of working with their manager and HR to improve with a clear plan forward, of leaving Amazon with severance, or of appealing if they feel they shouldn’t be in the program. Just over a year into program, we’re pleased with the support it offers our employees and we’re continuing to iterate based on employee feedback and their needs.”
In order to make employees understand about the new process, the company has got career ambassadors on board to explain it to the workforce.