Amazon workers will return to the office next week but some employees have concerns about the company’s surveillance policies.
According to reports, Amazon has made it clear that there will be no exceptions to the requirement that everyone be in the office at least three days a week. Some employees have been advised to find new jobs within the company rather than continue lobbying for more remote work.
Returning to the office means using an employee badge to enter the building. Employees are concerned that Amazon will use their employee badge data to track them and punish those who don’t strictly adhere to the new policy. Amazon employees typically use their badges to enter the office, and the data collected from those badges can be used by the company to track office use.
An Amazon employee told Insider that data on office use was not actively shared before the pandemic, casting doubt on the company’s intentions.
Amazon said that the badge tracking data is used to facilitate office functions, not punishment.
“Information about how many people use our buildings to help with things like planning facilities needs and ensuring we can account for people on-site if there happens to be an emergency,” a spokesperson said.
Still, employees aren’t entirely buying it. This is in part due to Amazon’s record with tracking its workers.
Amazon warehouse workers are intensely surveilled while in the company’s facilities. The data from that surveillance is used to discipline, and in some cases fire, employees who are spending too much time off task or are taking longer than allowed bathroom breaks.
Amazon delivery drivers experience a similar level of surveillance. Many delivery vehicles have AI cameras that track if they miss stop signs or speed.
Drivers have reported many issues with the technology including being cited for a violation where none happened.