A leaked memo to Amazon delivery staff showed that the group explicitly told its workers to avoid urinating in bottles and defecating in bags while on duty, despite denials it made on Thursday (25 March).
According to documents seen by the Intercept, Jen Snyder, in-road area manager at Amazon, told workers in May 2020 that they “cannot, must not, return bags to the station with poop inside”.
The memo counterracts earlier claims from the firm that it was unaware of a situation in which drivers are under such pressure with their delivery schedule that some have been forced to relieve themselves without access to toilets.
In response to a Tweet from Republican representative Mark Pocan that exposed the story, Amazon said: “You don’t really believe the peeing in bottles thing, do you?
“The truth is that we have over a million incredible employees around the world who are proud of what they do, and have great wages and health care from day one.”
However, Snyder’s memo recognised that defecation had been left behind in an Amazon bag three times in the space of two months last year.
Her email read: “This evening, an associate discovered human faeces in an Amazon bag that was returned to station by a driver. This is the 3rd occasion in the last two months when bags have been returned to station with poop inside.”
It added: “We understand that DA’s [driver associates] may have emergencies while on-road, and especially during Covid, DAs have struggled to find bathrooms while delivering. Regardless, DAs cannot, MUST NOT, return bags to station with poop inside.”
Workers reportedly told the Intercept that they were “implicitly forced” to urinate and defecate while out for delivery, as too many undelivered packages would cause them to “end up losing our jobs”.
Despite the lack of bathrooms due to Covid-19 and tight delivery schedules, the memo said that any further cases would result in a ‘tier one infraction’.