Amazon employee jumped from building after sending email to co-workers and CEO

An Amazon employee sent an email note to co-workers and CEO Jeff Bezos before jumping from the building in what appears to be an attempted suicide.

Amazon employee jumped from building after sending email to co-workers and CEO
Credit: Ben Mortimer Photography

An Amazon employee sent out an email to “hundreds” of his co-workers and even Amazon top dog CEO Jeff Bezos. Then he went to the roof of the building and jumped in what appears to be an attempted suicide.

A spokesperson for the Seattle Fire Department told SeattlePI that a man did jump from the “rooftop at an Amazon building at Ninth Avenue North and Thomas Street.”

amazon apollo building Google

Amazon Apollo Building as seen via Google Maps.

Although the man leaped off the 12-story Apollo building, Seattle Fire said he jumped from the pedestal section – about four stories up – and “fell only about 20 feet to a balcony below.”

After being taken to Harborview Medical Center, the man's injuries were described as “non-life-threatening.”

Some people get depressed around the holidays, but Bloomberg’s report noted that the man had requested a transfer to a different department. He was instead “placed on an employee improvement plan, a step that can lead to termination if performance isn’t improved.”

The man’s email was critical of Amazon; he criticized how Amazon handled his transfer request and even “hinted that he might harm himself.”

Amazon released the following statement: “Our thoughts are with our colleague as he continues to recover. He’s receiving some of the best care possible, and we will be there to support him throughout the recovery process.”

In August 2015, The New York Times called Amazon a “bruising workplace” and described the dog-eat-dog world of working for the online retailer. Bezos denied that Amazon was a “soulless, dystopian workplace where no fun is had and no laughter heard.”

Bezos claimed The Times article didn’t “describe the Amazon I know or the caring Amazonians I work with every day.” He encouraged employees to report any workplace abuse to HR or to email him directly.

“I strongly believe that anyone working in a company that really is like the one described in the NYT would be crazy to stay. I know I would leave such a company,” Bezos said.

Yet the fallout was dramatic as worker after worker came forward to share their experiences of working at Amazon. Some made it sound like working at the company was like working for the devil in hell. Jay Carney, Amazon’s senior vice president for global affairs, also disputed The Times report.

Amazon did make some changes, such as offering 20 weeks of paid leave for new moms, offering six weeks leave for new parents, changing its employee review process and recently rolling out a 30-hour workweek pilot program.

When announcing the pilot program during an online recruitment seminar, Amazon claimed, “These part-time employees will still receive the same benefits as those employees scheduled for 40 hours per week. While the part-time employees’ projects will be carefully managed to align with schedules, they will share the same objective of all of our teams: to build great things on behalf of our customers.”

Although it remains to be seen what the man’s email said, it seems that despite the company's changes, at least one Amazon worker might still believe they aren't enough.

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