Former Employee: 'I Had A Baby And Cancer When I Worked At Amazon' | KUOW News and Information

Former Employee: 'I Had A Baby And Cancer When I Worked At Amazon'

Aug 26, 2015

After a New York Times' expose on exacting worker conditions at Amazon, CEO Jeff Bezos said he was shocked -- and then asked for direct feedback from workers. 

Julia Cheiffetz, an executive editor at HarperCollins, took Bezos at his word. 

In this essay, she writes about being diagnosed with cancer when her baby was 6 weeks old -- and then getting a letter saying that her health insurance had been canceled. (The Family and Medical Leave Act requires that companies with more than 50 employees provide group benefits throughout the leave.) 

"After a five-month leave, I was nervous and excited to return to work, and I showed up that first day back with a big smile and a phone full of baby pictures to share. I figured I’d catch up with folks and get a high-level update on how the business was doing, since the strategy had evolved from the time I was hired.

That's not what happened, she says. Her direct reports were reassigned upon her return. (Washington state law demands that women return to their same jobs.)  

I was taken to lunch by a woman I barely knew. Over Cobb salad she calmly explained that all but one of my direct reports — the people I had hired — were now reporting to her. In the months that followed, I was placed on a dubious performance improvement plan, or PIP, a signal at Amazon that your employment is at risk. Not long after that I resigned.

Read her full essay on Medium: 

I Had a Baby and Cancer When I Worked at Amazon. This Is My Story