Last fall I began working for Amazon.com in one of their warehouses in Bellevue, Washington. It was an Amazon Fresh warehouse and the food delivery had really begun to take off, so much so the warehouse needed to move to a larger space. At the time of the move the company gave us the opportunity to move with them or to transfer to another area.
I chose to transfer to California where I have applied to enter a college program. In June of last year I was transferred to San Bernardino. The move to San Bernardino got off to a bad start right from the beginning. I was promised by Amazon to receive $3,000 in relocation money, enough money to move into an apartment. I was to receive the money with my first pay upon arriving. The money did not show up on my first paycheck and when I finally got them to pay me I only received half. The company told me this was due to my relocation pay being taxed as a bonus. This detail was never explained to me before I moved and should have been made clear. As a result of only receiving half of the relocation pay I was promised I could not afford an apartment.
Instead of moving into an apartment which would have cost first and last month’s rent plus a deposit, I had to try and make ends meet in an economy motel. I was not always able to afford to stay at the motel and sometimes had to sleep outside. The people I worked for gave me a hard time about my living arrangement, which was caused by the company. My co workers began to harass me for the entire 10 hour work day. Prior to the harassment my attendance was considered very good. Once the harassment began my attendance record began to suffer. I made several complaints to management and HR about the harassment. Amazon has a strict policy against harassment, according to them. I had a manager witness the harassment and began to give them specific names and details about the coworkers who were bothering me. I am Jewish and was the only Jew i knew of working at that particular warehouse. I let management know this as well. When my attendance continued to suffer I was fired.
I appealed the termination and had a meeting with the man in charge of the entire warehouse. He brought my attendance record with him into the meeting. He showed me how good my attendance was until a certain point. I told him that is when the harassment began. He made the decision based on all of the information that my termination should remain in place.
My last option was to go to the ethics committee. I told them my story and they told me they would give the information to someone at the warehouse. I told them the story of the man in charge of the warhouse and requested that the case be brought to HR outside of this particular warehouse. A man from regional HR called me and said he would look into my allegations. I eventually won my rehire eligibility back and was told that they would try to find me a job in the area in which I now live. That was months ago.
I have now been homeless since the company fired me in mid September. Human Resources knows that I am homeless and living in the cold this winter. I am left wondering why we allow companies to treat their employees this way. Amazon has to many class action lawsuits filed against them from former employees that going to an attorney will get one no where. All I did was follow company rules and the company let me down. I am now looked down upon in the community in which I live because Amazon is dragging its heels. These people probably bought most of their gifts from Amazon, the same company that does not care if it makes its employees homeless. So while Amazon will be bringing great joy to thousands of Americans this holiday season, I am living outdoors in the cold.