According to a co-worker, the man had recently requested to transfer to another department, but was instead placed on an “employee improvement plan” which can lead to termination if their performance does not improve, the Financial Post reports. It remains unclear what position he held within the company.
The man was reportedly upset about the response, and sent an email to hundreds of people within the building, as well as Bezos, hinting that he may try to harm himself.
“Our thoughts are with our colleague as he continues to recover,” Amazon said 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.”
“At Amazon, workers are encouraged to tear apart one another’s ideas in meetings, toil long and late (emails arrive past midnight, followed by text messages asking why they were not answered), and held to standards that the company boasts are ‘unreasonably high,” Jodi Kantor wrote for the New York Times last year. “The internal phone directory instructs colleagues on how to send secret feedback to one another’s bosses. Employees say it is frequently used to sabotage others.”
The company has previously prided itself on being tough on employees, with a letter from Bezos to shareholders in 1997 stating that it is “not easy” to work there, as they push employees past their perceived limits.
“You walk out of a conference room and you’ll see a grown man covering his face,” former Amazon employee Bo Olson told the Times. “Nearly every person I worked with, I saw cry at their desk.”
Since the allegations went public, Bezos publicly encouraged employees to report maltreatment to human resources, or directly to him.