An Amazon employee escaped with injuries after hurling himself off of the company’s Seattle HQ in a suspected suicide attempt, following a company decision to place him on an employee Performance Improvement Plan.
The unnamed employee allegedly was fearing for his job after he requested a department transfer, and was subsequently placed on a Performance Improvement Plan, “a step that can lead to termination if performance isn’t improved,” according to a source speaking to Bloomberg.
Before the employee made the jump at 8:45 a.m. on Monday, he allegedly sent out an email to hundreds of co-workers, including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, where he criticized the company before hinting “that he might harm himself,” according to Bloomberg.
“Our thoughts are with our colleague as he continues to recover,” said Amazon in a statement about the incident. “He’s receiving some of the best care possible and we will be there to support him throughout the recovery process.”
In a 2014 feature about disgruntled employees at Amazon, Gawker wrote, “Some of the upset, overworked, and burned out Amazon workers who sent us their stories spoke about the company’s practice of placing employees on ‘performance improvement plans,’ or PIPs, if they were deemed to not be working efficiently enough.”
“PIPs, which are ostensibly training programs designed to improve the job performance of those who can’t keep up with Amazon’s furious pace, were generally described as Kafkaesque zero-tolerance pretenses for pushing employees out the door,” they claimed.
One employee claimed that PIP was “being used as a tool to fire employees.”
“That is, once you are into a PIP you can be sure that you would be made to quit within a maximum of 3 months,” said the employee. “After the PIP starts, they will catch hold of any one mistake of the employee within those 3 months period and ask them to put down their papers. They will not be terminated but asked to resign.”
Note: This story has been corrected from a previous version that reported the employee jumped from the top of the Amazon building.