An Amazon manager filed a lawsuit after he was fired after upgrading a flight to New Zealand …
Amazon Executive didn’t want to fly a bus to New Zealand
Marc Sadeghi was the global visual effects director for Amazon Studios in Culver City, California. After accepting the job, he became familiar with Amazon’s frugal travel policy that the vast majority of employees had to fly a bus or pay for their own seat upgrades. This is in stark contrast to much of the entertainment industry, where business class is the norm on many flights.
Sadeghi had a work trip to New Zealand but didn’t want to fly in business. He claimed he had back problems – scoliosis and sciatica – and needed more space to stretch out. Unfortunately, it has been rejected several times:
- He told his manager that a 14 hour flight in the economy would hurt him so much that it would take him two months to recover, to which the answer was that this was a “crap.”
- When speaking with the director of drama production at Amazon Studios, it was suggested that he try to get medical clearance from Amazon, but that could take months and he had to make the trip immediately
At this point, Sadeghi hired his assistant:
- He’d heard through the vine that you could get a free upgrade on Air New Zealand and directed his assistant to put it on the list of free upgrades. The wizard did not do this, which is not surprising since there is no such list
- He claims his assistant told him that another manager previously used the corporate credit card to pay for an upgrade at the gate and then did it internally. That is exactly what Sadeghi did because he thought he could do it afterwards
Amazon fired an executive for violating the guidelines
When Sadeghi returned from New Zealand in December 2019, he was asked to meet with a human resources representative to discuss some “allegations” and had to hand over his laptop and badge. At this point, he was asked a number of questions:
- “Have you ever asked your assistant to run personal errands?”
- “Have you ever sent your assistant a picture of a cartoon penis?”
- “Have you ever directed your assistant to break the guidelines?”
At this point, Sadeghi realized that his assistant had “turned on” him. He had already doubted his assistant’s loyalty when he realized the assistant was secretly tapping him the day before Thanksgiving break.
The allegations included that Sadeghi misused corporate funds and used non-colored language. He argued that the company fostered an environment where such language would be tolerated, and even stated that he heard another executive refer to someone else as a “squirrel.”
A few days later, he was notified that an investigation had uncovered a pattern of multiple policy violations and he was fired.
Sadeghi has filed a lawsuit against the company for discrimination based on disability, lack of reasonable accommodation and wrongful termination. He claimed the investigation was not fair and it was illegal for his assistant to record him.
My take on this story
What a story. I notice a couple of things here:
- Little did I know Amazon had such a stingy travel policy as it really seems extreme not to even offer premium economy on an ultra long haul flight
- At the same time, it shouldn’t be if this guy takes on a job that requires him to travel a fair amount and if he has illnesses that would mean that after a long haul flight in business it would take him months to settle down recover Did he inquire about the policy with the company before accepting the order?
- If he really wanted the upgrade, he would have had to pay the difference himself, either with cash or miles. Instead, he relied on an imaginary upgrade concept (to get it on the free upgrade list) and then put the upgrade on the corporate credit card because his assistant said someone else was doing it, even though he was specifically told the company was would not pay you to upgrade
- It sure sounds like this isn’t the man’s only offense, but rather the straw that broke the camel’s back
As I said, I find Amazon’s policies absolutely ridiculously stingy, but it’s also up to him to know the company’s travel policies before taking a job.
An Amazon manager was fired after upgrading a flight to New Zealand using a corporate credit card after being told the company would not pay for his upgrade. It sounds like there were some other violations on his part that ultimately resulted in him being fired and this was just a simple matter to get him to do.
The man is now suing the company for disability discrimination and more. I am curious what will become of it. As I said earlier, Amazon’s travel policy seems extremely stingy, but he should also have known it was.
What do you think of this Amazon upgrade situation?
(Top of the hat to paddle your own canoe)