Amazon is infamous for tightly controlling its workers and contractors, but a report from Bloomberg shows that it also tries to control the employees of companies that it contracts. The company has explicit policies concerning personal grooming and social media etiquette that apply to the drivers from other delivery companies. The rules govern everything from how the delivery people look (they must have clean fingernails, teeth, ears, and hair) to how they smell (no bad breath, body odor, or immodest perfume).
The rules also apparently forbid drivers from making social media posts that could be considered obscene. That by itself wouldn’t be remarkable, but it’s worth noting that these policies are applied to drivers that don’t work for Amazon, and so reach much further than the company’s official employee base. The drivers are instead employees of local delivery companies that are contracted by Amazon through its Delivery Service Partners program.
The workers for these companies are the same ones affected by the company’s AI-powered cameras. Drivers have to consent to always-on cameras monitoring them for things like distracted driving or traffic violations if they want to work (or keep working) by delivering packages for the retail giant. Amazon’s plan to install the cameras was discovered through a video where an Amazon manager explained the partnership between the company and the camera manufacturer. Vice has since discovered driver consent forms as well.
Amazon is well-known for not giving its employees (or those who work under its umbrella) much leeway when it comes to handling their personal lives — many warehouse employees have to micromanage their time away from work to avoid being fired, and the company allegedly constantly texted employees during the recent Alabama union drive. Amazon’s leadership, including Jeff Bezos, has claimed that it doesn’t treat its employees like robots — but it’s hard to look at rules like this for drivers who aren’t even contractors and believe that’s the case.