Amazon Is Using Robots to Monitor (And Fire) Employees

According to The Verge, not only is the productivity of Amazon warehouse employees monitored by literal robots, thousands of said employees wind up being fired every year for not meeting the company’s robot-enforced efficiency standards.

Per a signed letter obtained by The Verge, “an attorney representing Amazon said the company fired [roughly 300 employees] at a single facility between August of 2017 and September 2018 for failing to meet productivity quotas.” And those 300 workers represent a “substantial portion” of the facility’s 2,500 workers (north of 10 percent).

Assuming that the termination rate is consistent across all fulfillment centers — which is a pretty safe assumption, as the operations of these places are dictated entirely by data in order to keep them as consistent as possible — then the volume of fired employees is staggering.

As the story said, “Amazon operates more than 75 fulfillment centers with more than 125,000 full-time employees, suggesting thousands lose their jobs with the company annually for failing to move packages quickly enough.”

And, as already mention, it’s robots, not humans, deciding who stays and who goes. According to the story, the constant robot monitoring is so stress-inducing that employees “have said they avoid bathroom breaks to keep their time in line with expectations.”

The company, for its part, said that those who are most at risk of losing their jobs (a group they refer to as the “bottom five percent”) are “placed on a training plan” and that “an appeal system is also part of the termination process.” No word on if the appeals are judged by robots, too.

You can read more about it at The Verge.

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  • S.O. Crane

    It’s like they’re pulling everything from the cyberpunk fiction i used to read.