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Amazon Warehouse Employees Pee In Bottles In Order To Save Time

April 18, 2018

A former Amazon warehouse employee once said there was a culture of fear that they would get into trouble "for taking too long away from the job."

This led undercover investigator James Bloodworth to go...well, undercover as an employee in an Amazon warehouse for six months.  During that time, Bloodworth worked 10-hour shifts as a "picker," where he was assigned to selecting goods for dispatch.  He would routinely walk 10 miles a day, and found that there is indeed a constant fear among employees for wasting company time.  In his book, Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain, Bloodworth wrote how warehouse employees were continually monitored for time-wasting by their supervisors.

Time-wasting meant the employees used the bathroom sparingly, and were quick about it when they did.  This was especially difficult for those who worked on the top floor of the building, when the closest restroom was down four flights of stairs.  So, many employees started implementing a "toilet bottle" system.

It's exactly what you're thinking it is.  Bloodworth said, "People just peed in bottles because they lived in fear of being disciplined over ‘idle time’ and ­losing their jobs just because they needed the loo.”  It seems the toilet bottles were just the beginning of an apparent hostile work environment, however.  Bloodworth also claims that the warehouse is treated almost like a prison.  Workers were constantly scanned and patted down to make sure they weren't stealing anything, and as a "security measure," hats, sunglasses, hoodies, and cell phones were all banned.  

Amazon countered Bloodworth's claims, however.  A spokesperson for the company said "Amazon ensures all of its associates have easy access to toilet facilities which are just a short walk from where they are working.  Amazon provides a safe and positive workplace for thousands of people across the UK with competitive pay and benefits from day one."

Via New York Post