staff warned over criticizing company's climate policy

(Reuters News, 6 Jan 2020) Employees are told they could be fired if they speak to the media about Amazon's business without prior approval. Inc employees who publicly demanded more aggressive action by the company to combat climate change have been told they violated company policy, with the U.S. e-commerce giant saying further infractions could end in firings, according to an employee climate activism group.

The warnings, over violations of a company policy on speaking to the media, could be seen as an early instance of corporate retaliation for employee climate activism, a business analyst said - but a public relations specialist said such restrictions were common corporate policy.

An Amazon spokeswoman described the company rules, which require advance approval for employees wanting to speak publicly about the company to the media, as "not new" and "similar to other large companies".

A representative of the group Amazon Employees for Climate Justice told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that four of its leaders had held confidential meetings with the online giant's legal and human resources divisions in November.

The meetings came in the wake of record global climate protests in September that saw millions of people in more than 160 countries take to the streets, including outside Amazon's headquarters.

More than 3,000 tech workers in Seattle's South Lake Union neighborhood – home to and major satellite offices for Google, Facebook and Microsoft – rallied to protest the support their employers provide to fossil fuel companies.

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Reuters News, 6 Jan 2020: staff warned over criticizing company's climate policy