Amazon's new CEO overruled an HR report that recommended firing an employee for alleged discriminatory behavior, Protocol reports.

The publication claims that Andy Jassy, who was CEO of Amazon Web Services at the time, decided to keep the employee and did not attend a meeting about the incident.

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– Sebastian Moss

In 2019, a Black female AWS employee told HR that Joshua Burgin had made what she felt were discriminatory comments to her. Burgin was at the time the chief of staff to senior leadership member Charlie Bell.

Following the complaint, an internal AWS team investigated the allegations, creating a report that recommended Burgin be fired. Then a group of senior staffers, including HR vice president Ian Wilson, HR senior vice president Beth Galetti, and Bell, held a meeting to discuss the report.

They concluded they should have another meeting, this time with Jassy - but it never happened. Instead, Bell allegedly had a private conversation with Jassy, and the division head decided to keep Burgin on.

We take all allegations of discrimination seriously and investigate them fully," Amazon said in a statement. "In this instance, we conducted a thorough investigation and took what we believe was the appropriate corrective action."

Burgin was promoted to general manager of AWS Outposts in June 2020. Bell left Amazon last month for a role at Microsoft Azure.

The employee has launched a discrimination and harassment case, represented by attorney Gloria Allred. The case is one of a number of similar discrimination suits filed by current and former AWS employees.

In July, more than 550 Amazon Web Services staffers signed a petition alleging “an underlying culture of systemic discrimination, harassment, bullying, and bias against women and under-represented groups.”

Andy Jassy became CEO of Amazon in July, appointing Tableau CEO and former AWS exec Adam Selipsky as the new head of the cloud division.

Update: Amazon told DCD in a statement: “The suggestion that Andy overruled a recommendation provided to him in this case is not correct. As with any disciplinary decision, as more data was presented and discussions continued, opinions on the appropriate course of action evolved. The final recommendation was the one ultimately pursued.”

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