An Amazon employee claims she's now living in her own car since she was injured at work twice due to inadequate safety equipment, and wasn't offered sick pay or compensation.
Vickie Shannon Allen, 49, claims that she is now homeless, and is living in her car outside the Texas fulfilment centre she works at for Amazon.
Allen says she first injured her back at the Amazon fulfilment centre in Haslet, Texas, on 24 October, while counting goods on a station that wasn't fitted with the required safety equipment, a brush guard, which is designed to stop items falling onto the floor.
Allen claims that the company provided her with a heating pad for her back, however after she drove 60 miles each way to arrive at work, each day she was sent home without pay, until she requested workers' compensation, reports The Guardian.
Speaking to the newspaper, she said:
I tried to work again, but I couldn’t stretch my right arm out and I’m right-handed. So I was having a hard time keeping up. This went on for about three weeks.
Once on workers' compensation and undergoing physical therapy, Allen returned to work in January 2018, only to injure herself on the exact same work station that had still not been fixed. Speaking to the Guardian, she said:
By June 2018, they finally had that station fixed. It took them eight months to put one little brush guard on this station.
Finally, Allen alleges that the company then tried to make her sign a non-disclosure agreement for $3,500 in order to not say anything negative about her experience working for Amazon, which she declined to sign.
They offered me a buyout, only for $3,500, which meant I would have to sign a non-disclosure agreement to not say anything derogatory about Amazon or my experience.
After refusing to sign the non-disclosure agreement, she went public with her story, speaking to The Guardian. She currently lives in her car in the Texas fulfilment centre.
They cost me my home, they screwed me over and over and I go days without eating.
Allen also shared her story in a series of YouTube videos, shared to her personal account. One, posted August 31 at 1:30am, has had more 35,000 views. She says that she had to get up in the night to stretch her legs, and she then twists the camera to show the Amazon building, and the parking lot that she's staying in.
In an emotional moment, she says:
I work for the world's richest man, and I live in my car!
This isn't the first time that the company has faced criticism for its treatment of its employees. In April 2018, Amazon's warehouses were listed on the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health's 'dirty dozen' for the most dangerous places to work in the United States.
Amazon, however, denies all allegations of improperly treating employees after a work injury.
In a statement to the MailOnline, a spokesperson said:
We don't recognize these allegations as an accurate portrayal of working at Amazon.
We are proud of our safety record and thousands of Amazonians work hard every day innovating ways to make it even better.
Amazon has created over 130,000 jobs in the last year alone and now employees over 560,000 people around the world. Ensuring the safety of these associates is our number one priority.
indy100 has reached out to Amazon for comment.
HT The Guardian