Some Amazon employees are furious after they discovered the company’s HR department appears to be quietly monitoring a subset of listservs dedicated to employees who are minorities and those who are involved in activism.
Earlier this week, a group of Amazon employees discovered that an email alias affiliated with Amazon’s HR team had subscribed to 78 listservs at Amazon, the majority of which are related to underrepresented employees and employee activism issues, such as climate change, Black employee networking, and Muslim employees. Amazon has thousands of internal emailing lists where employees discuss common interests and projects, so the dozens of listservs that the alias was subscribed to are a small subset of the total groups that exist.
Amazon denies that its HR teams were tracking emails to monitor organizing, and told Recode that it subscribed to the groups to monitor employee feedback on company culture.
Some of the listservs that Amazon HR appears to be monitoring have been used for employee organizing around controversial issues at the company in recent months, such as Amazon warehouse worker rights, corporate carbon emissions, and military technology. Others are less political, such as groups for women in engineering and employees who are parents.
Recode spoke with six Amazon employees who said they’re alarmed by the email monitoring when they consider how Amazon has been increasingly cracking down on worker organizing. These employees spoke on the condition of anonymity because of Amazon’s policies against speaking to the press without management’s approval.
They told Recode that dozens of other colleagues have also posted messages on Amazon’s internal forums expressing concern about the monitoring, and many more are likely also upset but too scared to speak out publicly.
“Most people would just read and
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