Amazon sells a myriad of products from R. Kelly albums to chickpeas to golden shower heads. With all of those millions of products available for sale, there’s a steady stream of orders to be fulfilled. That means Amazon workers are buzy little bees and reportedly some employees are so overworked that they are peeing in bottles to avoid being penalized for taking bathroom breaks.
Investigator and author Jared Bloodworth leaked these shocking allegations after going undercover as a warehouse worker for six months. Bloodworth worked at the Amazon warehouse in Staffordshire, UK, and used the golden opportunity to get information for his new book about low-wage jobs in Britain. “For those of us who worked on the top floor, the closest toilets were down four flights of stairs,” Bloodworth told The Sun. “People just peed in bottles because they lived in fear of being disciplined over ‘idle time’ and losing their jobs just because they needed the [bathroom].”
Amazon’s warehouses are gigantic and workers walk an average of 10 miles a day over the course of a 10-hour shift. The restrooms in the huge four-story warehouses could be located a quarter of a mile away on the first floor. A trip to the bathroom could take 10 minutes to walk, so many employees use a “toilet bottle” to relieve themselves. If you’re an Amazon employee who has an emergency situation you’re in big trouble because the bathrooms are so far away. So many are using a bottle as their personal bathroom.
Being penalized for going to the bathroom seems a wee bit excessive, but Amazon has denied Bloodworth’s salty allegations. “Amazon provides a safe and positive workplace for thousands of people across the UK with competitive pay and benefits from day one,” Amazon told Business Insider. “We have not been provided with confirmation that the people who completed the survey worked at Amazon and we don’t recognize these allegations as an accurate portrayal of activities in our buildings.”
Is Bloodworth engaging in yellow journalism? That depends, but he does seem to be a whiz at investigative journalism. We should wait until the entire story trickles out before showering Amazon with criticisms or soaking them in warm compliments.