Amazon employees who are close to being fired can plead their case to an internal jury that’s partly selected by the company, according to documents reviewed by Insider and interviews with people familiar with the process.
These appeals are part of Pivot, an Amazon performance-improvement program that some employees say is stacked against them.
If an employee successfully completes Pivot, they resume work. Those who fail must choose between leaving with a smaller payout — roughly one-third of the initial offer — or entering an appeal process that can result in an even slimmer payment if they’re unsuccessful (about one-sixth of the size of the first offer).
Employees have to choose whether to appeal within three business days. They are then required to write a statement with supporting documents outlining how they have met performance expectations during Pivot.
Next, they present their case to a jury that can be either a single manager or as many as five Amazon employees. The person making the appeal picks from a list of peers or managers that they don’t know. The employee and the company both have a say in who will be on these appeal panels. For instance, Amazon sometimes provides the list of peers for the employee to choose from. One current Amazon manager said the juries typically had a strong bias toward the manager.
The appeal can be lonely and challenging. One person who has been through the process said employees weren’t allowed to read their manager’s assessment of their performance before crafting a defense.
On top of that, employees are not allowed external legal support, people who have been through the program said. “You go in by yourself not understanding what you’re up against,” one person told Insider. The people spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution from Amazon.
If an employee wins the appeal, they exit Pivot and can join a new team within Amazon, usually within 60 days, according to internal documents seen by Insider. But even in that case, employment at Amazon is not guaranteed. Amazon says in internal Pivot documents that the company will “try to identify a role, but cannot guarantee a new role will be found.”
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