Report portrays Amazon's work culture as a jungle

NEW YORK -- It is a jungle. That is how Amazon is being portrayed, the company, not the actual jungle.

Amazon employs more than 180,000 people. A report over the weekend suggests they are not treated very well. Amazon's response came with expedited delivery.

The New York Times described the internet giant Amazon as "...conducting a little-known experiment in how far it can push white-collar workers, redrawing the boundaries of what is acceptable."


The report found while many employees liked being pushed past their limits to help their careers take off, many also struggled with a culture one former executive called "Purposeful Darwinism," or, survival of the fittest.

Others said Amazon regularly performs downsizing of staff and one said his enduring image was watching people cry in the office. They call their employees "athletes."

Times reporter and CBS News contributor Jodi Kantor described the paper's findings on CBS This Morning.

She said they did hear from people who felt they were evaluated too harshly. For instance, people who suffered from cancer, pregnancy loss and were evaluated very quickly after those things happened.

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"And I think the fundamental flaw in the story is, the suggestion that, any company that had the kind of culture that The New York Times wrote about, and sort of the cruel, Darwinian or Dickensian kind of atmosphere in the workplace, could survive and thrive in today's marketplace," said Amazon executive and former White House press secretary Jay Carney.

Carney said there is no paid paternity leave at Amazon, but neither is there at about 80 percent of U.S. companies, which The New York Times didn't note.

CBS News checked on that, and it's true, 80 percent of U.S. companies do not have a paid leave policy.

Amazon said it does not tolerate what its founder Jeff Bezos called the, "shockingly callous management practices" cited by the newspaper.