Amazon HR system automatically fires 'inefficient' warehouse workers

Occurred: August 2017-April 2019

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An Amazon HR system automatically monitored and sacked 'hundreds' of workers at a single warehouse who were not considered to be working fast enough.

In a letter to the US National Labor Relations Board shared with The Verge, an attorney at law firm Morgan Lewis & Bockius representing Amazon responded to a termination complaint by describing (pdf) how Amazon fired 'hundreds' of workers at a single facility between August 2017 and September 2018 for failing to reach productivity targets and quality-control mandates.

The system 'automatically generates any warnings or terminations regarding quality or productivity without input from supervisors', according to the letter. It also said that a worker would receive a termination notice if they were given six warnings in a 12-month period. 

Amazon responded by denying it sent out automatically-generated termination notices and said its warehouse workers are given training to help them improve if they miss targets.


Operator: Amazon
Developer: Amazon
Country: USA
Sector: Transport/logistics
Purpose: Improve productivity
Technology: Machine learning
Issue: Employment; Fairness
Transparency: Governance


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