According to International Business Times, Amazon’s warehouse employees often have to endure seasonal mandatory overtime of five 11-hour shifts per week during the holidays because of the increased demand from online shoppers. In addition to extended hours, many employees are subject to unrealistic productivity requirements.
In the article, a source went undercover at an Amazon sorting center in California for eight weeks this past summer as part of academic research into warehouse working conditions. The source reported that Amazon wanted its workers to pack about 240 boxes per hour. However, a floor manager later admitted to the source that the industry standard was only about 150.
“Amazon’s employees are viewed as a necessary evil,” Neal Heimback, who has worked for Amazon since 2011, told IBTimes. “If they could get machines to do this work, they would. Amazon is not happy with 100 percent productivity from its workers. One hundred percent to them is, ‘Well, at least you’re doing your job.’ If you’re 85 or 90 percent within their plan, you’re considered on the border.”
The article mentions that this strategy of setting unattainable productivity goals is known as management by stress. It is designed to make the employees feel as though they are falling down on the job so that they push harder to hit the impractical goals.
“[The floor manager] and I got friendly a little and he was willing to talk to me openly about these productivity goals,” the source told IBTimes. “He was under the impression I was working my way through school. ‘Don’t worry,’ he said. ‘We’re not going to fire you at 88 percent of 240.’”
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Many employees endure unacceptable working conditions, because they are unaware that their situation is out of the ordinary. If you even suspect that your workplace rights are being violated, whether through harassment, discrimination, a wage dispute, wrongful termination or some other type of workplace rights violation, discuss your concerns with a Los Angeles employment attorney. An attorney can explain employment law and determine whether you have a case.
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Did You Know: Wal-Mart employs about 1.3 million people in the U.S., compared to Amazon’s 88,000.
Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob– Los Angeles employment attorneys