Amazon accused of threatening to fire climate activists

Oscar Williams-Grut
Senior City Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
Amazon Employees for Climate Justice took to Twitter to complain they were being threatened with dismissal. Photo: Ina Fassbender/AFP via Getty Images

Amazon (AMZN) staff who spoke up about the impact of climate change claim they have been targeted by the e-commerce giant and threatened with being fired.

A group of Amazon employees who took part in the Global Climate Walkout earlier this year took to Twitter on Thursday to say some of their members were threatened with dismissal if they continued to speak out on the issue.

“Jeff Bezos and Amazon executives are threatening to fire a few members of our group after we spoke up about wanting our company to be a leader in the worldwide effort to avert climate catastrophe,” Amazon Employees for Climate Justice wrote on Twitter.

The group claim Amazon changed its communication policy the day after they announced plans to take part in the Global Climate Walkout. The new policy forbade Amazon staff to speak out on any issue without prior approval from the PR department.

“Our world is on fire & desperately needs climate leadership,” the group wrote. “Stop silencing employees who are sounding the alarm.”

A spokesperson for Amazon said: “Our policy regarding external communications is not new and we believe is similar to other large companies.

“We recently updated the policy and related approval process to make it easier for employees to participate in external activities such as speeches, media interviews, and use of the company’s logo.

“As with any company policy, employees may receive a notification from our HR team if we learn of an instance where a policy is not being followed.”

Amazon Employees for Climate Justice called on Amazon founder Bezos to use his “immense economic power to help” tackle climate change. The group also accused the company of contributing to the problem.

“We cannot be silent while our families and communities suffer,” the employees wrote on Twitter. “By speaking up, we can make the company better.”

A spokesperson for Amazon said: “We understand many of our employees feel passionately about the future of our environment — we do too, which is why we’ve included climate change as one of our positions and announced The Climate Pledge, a commitment to meet the Paris Agreement 10 years early.”