Amazon's new program intended to provide employees facing termination with options is now raising concerns stemming from allegations of unfairness and increases in workplace tension. Called 'Pivot,' the internal HR program is effectively a way for employees to gain a second chance when working conditions, personnel, or similar factors might be impacting the decision to fire an Amazon employee. When going through the process of being terminated, employees are given three options. They can choose to take a predetermined severance pay and leave their job, work with recommendations to improve their performance, or appeal the decision via a sort of hearing held before other employees. If the appeal fails, they are forced to choose between the remaining options. However, according to anonymous employees working for the tech and retail giant, coupled with statements from attorneys some have hired to face the process, Pivot is now reportedly causing issues of its own.
Only around 30-percent of appeals are successful according to sources from within the company and the process seems to be weighted against employees placed in Pivot. Perhaps worse, in cases where an appeal is successful, the employee is often returned to work under the same manager. That has raised tension for those workers, who say that winning an appeal doesn't ordinarily change the behavior of the manager who called for the employee to be placed in the program. That has raised tension for those workers, who say that winning an appeal doesn't ordinarily change the behavior of the manager who called for the employee to be placed in the program. In fact, it sometimes makes matters worse since managers don't appear to change their minds about the employee's performance. The problems, meanwhile, appear to start long before that happens.
In at least one case where the appeal was lost, the employee was not given the opportunity to bring up her primary concern. Namely, the employee had been switched from the job she had been hired to accomplish to a different one and hadn't had time to adjust yet. In the leadup to the appeal hearing, the employee was put in contact with a company-appointed 'career ambassador.' That Amazon employee effectively explained the process and worked as a consultant at every step of the appeal. They also insisted that the employee's argument about not having been given a chance to adapt be dropped altogether. During the appeal hearing itself, the employee in question was then barred from hearing the manager's arguments against her appeal. The case highlights what may be a problem with how appeals are managed, with an apparent lean in favor of the word of individuals in management positions rather than hearing out employees. Amazon, for its part, has been facing scrutiny on several fronts over the past several months but has yet to respond to questions on this matter.