Julia Cheiffetz wants Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to “make Amazon a more hospitable place for women and parents.
Cheiffetz, who worked for Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) until July 2014, published a blog Wednesday detailing her experience working for the company in New York City, where she helped launch the company’s book publishing outpost.
The post is a first-person account of what was an incredibly difficult time in Cheiffetz’s life.
“In 2013, during my second year at Amazon, I had a baby of my own. Six weeks after my daughter was born, I was diagnosed with cancer,” she wrote.
While she was in the midst of treatment and still out on maternity leave, she received a form letter letting her know her health insurance had been cancelled. That cancellation turned out to be “a glitch in the system,” and she was eventually offered COBRA coverage.
“I chalked it up to a horrendous administrative error but remain disappointed that a company of Amazon’s size didn’t have better mechanisms in place to prevent something like that from happening during an employee’s maternity leave,” she wrote.
After her five-month medical leave, Cheiffetz returned to work only to find she’d been replaced by another woman, and that she was now on a “performance improvement plan,” a signal she says is an indication at Amazon that your job is at risk. She resigned not long afterward.
The blog was in response to the New York Times piece on Amazon’s brutal corporate culture, which has inspired commentary, both in the form of criticism and praise, across the media landscape.
In this case, though, Cheiffetz’s story hits on several points: She felt like Amazon punished her for being sick and left the company. In an industry where attracting and retaining talent is a massive challenge, losing someone like Cheiffetz, who has gone on to become an executive editor for publisher Harper Collins, isn’t a great business strategy.
Written by Emily Parkhurst