A former Amazon worker is set to start a hunger strike outside the company's office in Seattle, Washington, after seeing his three-week protest fall on deaf ears.
Kivin Varghese is the former employee of the American e-commerce giant, and has said that his target is to expose Amazon's "poor employee treatment, low ethical standards and an abysmal environmental record."
His tiff with the online vendor began in 2012 when he was fired seven months after her began working for them, upon which he sued the company for wrongful termination. In the first part of the trial, Amazon backed down and allowed Varghese all rights to a patent application he had filed while still in service.
The trial for his claim that he was wrongly fired is set to take place in March 2015. And he was hoping that his protest outside Amazon's headquarters would force them to settle with him. However, the company remained unmoved by his shenanigans, and therefore, he has decided to up the ante by going on a hunger strike in protest, starting at 7 a.m. on Tuesday until his demands are accepted.
“All I know is, I need to do the best I can to try to get things to change," he says. "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.”
Amazon officials, meanwhile, are adamant that they fired Varghese for his poor job performance and that he is employing such tactics for a big million-dollar payday. They reject his claim about Amazon being poor employers, telling Business Insider:
“Mr. Varghese was employed by Amazon for seven months in 2012 and was terminated for poor performance. Since his termination, Mr. Varghese has hired two different sets of lawyers and filed a lawsuit that seeks many millions of dollars of damages from Amazon. He has been aggressively litigating his claims since 2012.”
“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 March 23, 2015.”
There have been, on occasion, complaints by Amazon's employees over the years, but certainly not of the level Varghese claims. For a company as large as Amazon, there are bound to be some unsatisfied employees. However, it’s the lack of concern regarding environmental issues that has attracted severe criticism over the years.
Amazon recently moved to right that wrong as well when it vowed to run its cloud services on 100 percent renewable energy.
Despite there not being much apparent evidence, Varghese thinks he has a case against the Jeff Bezos-owned company.
“I've heard from so many by email and calls from across the country and on campus,” he said. “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's petition only has about 2,200 signatures so far, with a goal of 20,000.