Despite repeated denials, documents show that Amazon was aware that delivery drivers were having to resort to peeing in bottles.
Amazon caused an uproar on Thursday when it denied reports that its delivery workers have been forced to urinate in bottles due to lack of access to bathrooms, but a leaked internal memo shows the company has been aware of the problem for at least several months.
Documents provided by employees at Amazon to The Intercept showed that an email sent in May 2020 admonished workers for urinating in bottles and defecating in bags while on the job.
“This evening, an associate discovered human feces in an Amazon bag that was returned to station by a driver,” the email reads. “This is the 3rd occasion in the last 2 months when bags have been returned to station with poop inside. 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.”
The email went on to say: “We’ve noticed an uptick recently of all kinds of unsanitary garbage being left inside bags: used masks, gloves, bottles of urine.”
Workers told the publication the issue was commonly referred to in internal discussions, with one former Amazon employee telling the publication that drivers are “implicitly forced to do so, otherwise we will end up losing our jobs for too many ‘undelivered packages.'”
Amazon is known for its strict time constraints as well as tracking drivers, most of whom are employed by third-party companies. According to drivers, these expectations can make it difficult to find time to use the bathroom, despite the company’s policy of offering a 30-minute lunch and two 15-minute breaks.