Amazon founder Jeff Bezos defended his company in a letter to his employees on Monday, saying the "shockingly callous management practices" detailed in a recent New York Times article were unrecognizable to him.
The New York Times article
, published Saturday, described a "bruising" company culture that forced employees into punishing work schedules, encouraged confrontation between employees, and at times penalized workers experiencing illness or bereavement.
"You walk out of a conference room and you’ll see a grown man covering his face," Bo Olson, who once worked in the books division, told The Times. "Nearly every person I worked with, I saw cry at their desk."
The report echoed some previous employees criticisms of the company detailed in books like "The Everything Store," and in reports about the company's treatment of warehouse workers.
In his letter to employees, Bezos encouraged employees to contact the company's human resources department if they hear about any incidents that didn't seem right.
"I don’t recognize this Amazon and I very much hope you don’t, either," Bezos wrote to his staff. "More broadly, I don’t think any company adopting the approach portrayed could survive, much less thrive, in today’s highly competitive tech hiring market . . . Hopefully, you’re having fun working with a bunch of brilliant teammates, helping invent the future, and laughing along the way."
The Times wrote
in its own defense of the article, noting that reporters interviewed more than 100 current and former Amazon employees to compile the story, many of whom asked to remain anonymous, as the company made them sign agreements to stay away from the press.
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