Addressing Poor Working Conditions at Amazon, Inc.: Challenges Before, During, and After COVID-19

Abstract

This case addresses reports of poor working conditions at one of the leading online retailers, Amazon.com Inc. These issues have received increased scrutiny during the COVID-19 pandemic. After a number of Amazon warehouse employees and drivers tested positive for COVID-19, Amazon received backlash from multiple stakeholders, including United States senators, industry workers, and investors, for failure to adequately provide for workers’ health and safety. Reported problems at Amazon included a lack of access to bathroom facilities, with accounts of delivery drivers urinating in bottles inside of vans, along with warehouse workers receiving minimal breaks in unsafe working conditions. Similar reports of poor working conditions at other retailers, such as Instacart, highlighted that these problems were industry-wide and not just isolated to Amazon. Can working conditions be improved for Amazon employees? What role do the CEO, shareholders, and customers have in ensuring safe and humane workplace practices at Amazon?

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