Jeff Bezos’ space company Blue Origin is described as a “toxic” workplace, according to a trial of 21 employees.
Twenty-one current and former Blue Origin employees of Jeff Bezos claim the space company is a “toxic” workplace, according to an essay published Thursday.
Led by Blue Origin’s former head of employee communications Alexandra Abrams, the essay claims the company pressures workers to sign strict nondisclosure agreements, stifles internal feedback, ignores safety concerns and creates a sexist environment for women.
The essay was posted Thursday on the Lioness website . It was signed by Abrams and said he was backed by 20 other current and former employees whose names were not on the list.
Blue Origin Responds to Employee Comments
In response to a request for comment, Blue Origin vice president of communications Linda Mills said Abrams was “fired for good cause” in 2019 “after repeated warnings of issues related to federal export control regulations.”
In response to Blue Origin , Abrams told him in a statement that he “never received warnings, verbal or written, from management on matters related to federal export control regulations.”
Abrams acknowledged that she was fired by Blue Origin. She told him she was “shocked” when she was fired, but her manager told her that “Bob and I can no longer trust you,” referring to CEO Bob Smith. According to his LinkedIn account, he now works in employee communications for a large software company.
What did the trial against Jeff Bezos’s company say?
The essay said that “gender gaps in the workforce are common in the space industry,” but stated that “at Blue Origin they also manifest in a particular brand of sexism.”
He gave two examples of superior leadership. It alleged that a “top executive in CEO Bob Smith’s loyal inner circle” was repeatedly reported to the company’s human resources team about allegations of sexual harassment.
In the second example, a former executive was allegedly demeaning women, “calling them ‘girl’, ‘doll’ or ‘sweetie’ and asking them about their love lives.” The essay claims Blue Origin would warn new hires to stay away from the executive, who allegedly had a “close personal relationship with Bezos.”
Blue Origin also stepped up its use of strict nondisclosure agreements, the essay says, pushing all employees to sign new contracts with a nondiscrimination clause in 2019. In that vein, a group of key Blue Origin employees left the company. by Jeff Bezos recently.
The company’s work culture has “affected the mental health” of “many” people, the current and former employees claimed . The letter cited a senior program leader with decades in the aerospace and defense industry who stated that “working at Blue Origin was the worst experience of his life.”