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Amazon worker jumps off company building after e-mail note

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 - 09:13
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An Amazon.com Inc employee was injured when he leaped off a building at the company's Seattle headquarters in what police characterised as a suicide attempt.

[SEATTLE] An Amazon.com Inc employee was injured when he leaped off a building at the company's Seattle headquarters in what police characterised as a suicide attempt.

The man, who wasn't identified by authorities, sent an e-mail visible to hundreds of co-workers, including chief executive officer Jeff Bezos, before the incident occurred, according to a person familiar with the matter. The man survived the fall from Amazon's 12-story Apollo building at about 8:45am local time Monday and was taken to a Seattle hospital, police said.

The man had recently put in a request to transfer to a different department, but was placed on an employee improvement plan, a step that can lead to termination if performance isn't improved, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing company personnel matters. More than 20,000 people work in multiple buildings at Amazon's headquarters.

"Our thoughts are with our colleague as he continues to recover," Amazon said in a statement. "He's receiving some of the best care possible and we will be there to support him throughout the recovery process."

In the e-mail, the man expressed criticism of how the company handled his transfer request, and he hinted that he might harm himself, according to the person.

Suicide was the 10th-leading cause of death in the US in 2013, with 41,149 people taking their own lives that year, for a rate of 12.6 per 100,000, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The online retailer has taken steps to soften its image as a difficult employer since a New York Times story last year portrayed the company as a bruising workplace where employees were encouraged to take advantage of one another to get ahead. Amazon disputed the characterisation of the company.

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