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Amazon Employees Accused of Leaking Data for Bribes

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By Published On: September 18, 20180 Comments

Amazon employees are being questioned amidst allegations they have been leaking confidential information in exchange for bribes.

On Sunday, The Wall Street Journal published an article claiming Amazon employees have been passing on internal data and classified information to sellers across its global network of marketplaces to help them boost sales in exchange for payment. Citing anonymous sources, the news outlet claimed this questionable behaviour is most rampant in China.

Speaking to Reuters in response to the accusations, Amazon said the practice is against its company policy, and steps will be taken to determine which, if any, staff members are responsible for leaking internal data.

“We hold our employees to a high ethical standard and anyone in violation of our code faces discipline, including termination and potential legal and criminal penalties,” Amazon representatives said.

According to the Journal report, brokers working in Amazon’s Shenzhen office are allegedly selling internal sales metrics and information about customer reviews, including reviewers’ email addresses for payments ranging from as little as $80 to $2,000. These employees are also suspected of accepting bribes to delete negative customer reviews and restore banned accounts.

Amazon says it is currently investigating the reports of unethical employee behaviour in China where Amazon is growing at a rapid pace, and also in the US.

Amazon’s Mistreatment of Employees

The e-commerce juggernaut is also under fire for the treatment of its staff, as more than 200 delivery drivers are reportedly suing the company over missing wages.

Both Amazon and third party courier service, TL Transportation are locked in a legal battle with company employees over claims more than 200 delivery drivers haven’t been paid what’s owed to them.

The class action lawsuit has been filed in Pennsylvania after a judge ruled drivers working for Amazon and the Maryland-based courier company, who delivers Amazon packages, hadn’t paid staff properly for overtime hours.

According to TL Transportation, drivers are paid $US14.55 per hour for eight hours a day, plus an additional $US21.82 for two hours of overtime, regardless of what hours are actually worked.

Court filings have revealed that this caps employee earnings and creates wage shortfalls, as it limits the amount of overtime drivers can get compensated for. One example used in favour of the plaintiffs is a former driver that worked 30 hours of overtime over a seven-day working week back in 2016, but because of TL Transportations restricted wage scheme, only received payment for 14 of the overtime hours worked.

“Shanay Bolden received overtime pay for less than half of the 30 overtime hours that she actually worked,” US District Court Judge Gerald Austin McHugh said in his judgement last month.

Court filings also reveal that disgruntled employees are also calling Amazon out for the questionable workplace conditions the company is often accused of. In this case, delivery drivers claim they are put under too much pressure to meet unrealistic targets, which prevents them from taking breaks, eating, or even going to the toilet when they’re on route.

More than 200 employees have joined the lawsuit and are being represented by Berger & Montague and Williams & Davidson, with Amazon.com, Amazon Logistics and TL Transportation as the defendants.

So far, Amazon and TL Transportation have declined to comment.

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