Amazon strikes back at fasting former employee

A former Amazon employee that is hungry for shoppers to venture elsewhere has kicked off an enforced fast with the online retailer dismissing the reasons behind the strike as simply trying to get as much media attention as possible.

Kivin Varghese, who has already won the wrongful termination lawsuit he took out against Amazon, began the hunger strike to raise awareness of Amazon’s “poor employee treatment, low ethical standards, and an abysmal environmental record”.

"I've heard from so many by email and calls from across the country and on campus. The stories that they tell me are just awful, of the way that they're treated. Even though I have an issue with how Amazon treated me, this has become much bigger than just my issue,” Varghese told Business Insider.

He took Amazon to court in 2012 for wrongful termination after being employed by the firm for just seven months and won that case in July 2013. The settlement saw Amazon waive an 18-month non-compete clause and allowed him the complete rights to a patent application he filed. Despite all this, the second part of the trial is still scheduled for next March.

"All I know is, I need to do the best I can to try to get things to change. I know it's going to be a huge uphill battle. I'm going to be sitting out there alone on the sidewalk on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. But I'm hoping that my story will make people reconsider their buying for the holiday season,” he added, stating that if he can convince just one per cent to go elsewhere it will be a job well done.

Amazon’s riposte is that Varghese was dismissed for “poor performance” and that his actions are simply to garner himself as much media attention as possible.

“While we do not comment on active litigation and won’t do so here, this case has never been about treatment of other employees, customers or the environment – issues he first raised less than three weeks ago in an effort to get media attention. This case is about Mr. Varghese’s own termination and Amazon’s refusal to pay his monetary demands. Trial is set for 23 March 2015,” read a statement from Amazon.

Amazon employee complaints are certainly nothing new with one expert claiming that the conditions in UK warehouses were conducive to mental and physical illness, and in Germany the company was hit by strikes just weeks ago.

Image Credit: Flickr (evadedave)