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Unsafe Work Conditions Are Not Your FaultWorking is a normal, necessary part of our current society. We all need to do it in some way or another to support ourselves and our families, to keep bread on the table. Unfortunately, while many of us are lucky enough to land a solid, healthy career, many others are not so lucky. A job is a job, you may think. You need the money. So what if you don’t enjoy it? So what if it’s stressful, demeaning, or unreasonably difficult?

You need it. That means you’ll put up with it. When your employer knows that, they can and will take advantage of it, and you want to be protected in case that happens.

Company scapegoats for company image

It’s very easy for sensationalist headlines and unknowing reporters to paint certain employees in a bad light, especially since those employees probably don’t have any say in the matter.

The worst part of this trend is how difficult it can be to hold these companies accountable. They’re very careful to skirt the line of the law. If they fire you, they’ll make sure it’s for a reason they can justify, even if you felt you had no choice and even if it’s their fault in the first place. That’s why recognizing this sort of behavior and having a plan in case it happens to you is paramount when working for a large, public-facing corporation.

Let’s take a look at a fairly big example: Amazon. Amazon has been the subject of many controversies over the years, from anti-union policies to unreasonable demands to their employees and a colorful array of discrimination in between. Now, a company this successful and popular will have quite the legal team on their side, which is why they are notoriously almost impossible to sue. They are also, as it happens, known for lying and denying their unsafe working conditions even with documented proof.

How they do it — besides “shamelessly”

A lot of Amazon’s scandals are swept quickly under the rug by their aforementioned legal team and PR department, but that doesn’t mean the information disappears forever. In fact, barely a week ago a key scandal of theirs resurfaced in an interesting new way.

Disturbing documents and reports show an unfortunate number of Amazon employees who urinate — or even defecate — in bottles en route to their deliveries. This is a perfect example because of the “ew” factor involved here. Upon reading this, the instinctive reaction is just that — ew. It’s very easy, as someone who does not work for Amazon, to read and judge the employees for such a decision. How can they think it’s okay? Are they really that lazy?

But here’s the twist: Amazon denied it happened at all (and snarkily, on Twitter, as is the way of the world right now). In normal, scapegoat situations, they would say something along the lines of, “Oh, that’s horrible! We have fired the gross, incompetent workers who did this,” so why deny the claim outright? Well, the article in question isn’t blaming the employees — it’s blaming Amazon. Once you look past the initial reaction of “ew,” you realize, “Wait — what kind of company is so bad their employees feel the need to do this?” and that is exactly what Amazon is trying to hide.

If this scandal sounds familiar, that’s because it is. While the idea of truckers peeing in bottles on their long routes and tight schedules (a definite factor to the problem at large), Amazon specifically has been down this road before. Back in 2018, it came out that Amazon workers in a UK warehouse were forced to pee in bottles there as well, lest they be fired for being seen as “idle” for daring to take bathroom breaks. So, this isn’t just about the unfair regulations of delivery drivers, but about the unfair regulations of Amazon workers in general.

As you can guess, this is bad for PR. Amazon has no interest in addressing the real issue by changing their policies and being just a little bit more humane. They have an interest in protecting their image, and that’s it, leaving the unfortunate workers to fend for themselves. While this is a famous and rather large-scale example, what they’re doing is no different from what several smaller corporations and companies get away with every single day. This is why it’s so important for you, the worker, to look out for yourself and know how to stand up for your job, your rights, and your safety.

At Gainsberg Law, P.C, we understand how difficult and daunting it can be. When you get wrongfully fired or face unfair and illegal treatment, it may seem easier to simply let it go and move on. Really, we get it. But by letting it go, you’re not only letting go of justice — but also compensation, protection, and security. That’s why our experienced and compassionate Chicago employment law attorneys are here to walk you through every step and deal with the battles you don’t deserve to go through. If you feel you’ve been the victim of any sort of unfair treatment at work, call us today at 312-600-9585 or fill out our contact form. We’ll help you get out without hurting yourself — and your wallet — in the process.