Vickie Shannon Allen is an Amazon employee who is currently homeless after being injured on the job and denied proper paid leave. She has been posting her journey to YouTube, and also gave an interview to The Guardian about her experience working for Amazon, in a larger article about an epidemic of injuries for Amazon workers who are “being treated in ways that leave them homeless, unable to work or bereft of income.”
Allen’s YouTube videos have been garnering tens of thousands of views as she details her experience trying to save enough money for housing while she continues to work out of her car.
In a statement to MailOnline about the allegations, an Amazon spokesperson said, “We don’t recognise these allegations as an accurate portrayal of working at Amazon. We are proud of our safety record and thousands of Amazonians work hard every day innovating ways to make it even better.”
Allen currently lives out of her car nearby an Amazon warehouse in Texas. Here’s what you need to know.
1. She Worked as a Warehouse Employee
Allen worked as a warehouse employee for Amazon in Texas until an injury last year prevented her from continuing to work. However, before she was even injured, Allen toldThe Guardian that her job as a counter in the warehouse had been far from glamorous.
“I noticed managers would ask you questions all the time about any bathroom breaks, performance and productivity,” she said. “What they do is code your time, and they are allowed to change it at will. To me, that’s how they get rid of people.”
2. She Was Injured on the Job Due to Ineffective Safety Precautions
Allen suffered an injury to her back while she was counting goods at a station that was missing a brush guard, she told The Guardian. Over the course of each day, Allen reported that the Amazon “medical triage” gave her a heating pad then proceeded to send her home each day without pay until she demanded workers compensation.
“I tried to work again, but I couldn’t stretch my right arm out and I’m right-handed. So I was having a hard time keeping up. This went on for about three weeks,” she said.
After three months and a period of physical therapy, Allen returned to work and was injured once again. She eventually took two weeks of unpaid leave because she couldn’t afford to drive to work. She said, “They finally had that station fixed [in June.] It took them eight months to put one little brush guard on this station.”
3. She Has a GoFundMe Account Set Up to Help Find Housing
Allen currently has a GoFundMe set up to help her cover the costs to move out of her car and find housing. The GoFundMe reads,
“Hi my name is Shannon. I lived in Azle Texas. I became injured while at work at Amazon. After being on and off leave about 2 different times and workers comp wasn’t paying me but $246 a week. I got behind in my rent because I was using the money that I was getting every week from workers comp to go back and forth to my doctor’s appointment. They only pay for mileage if it’s over 30 miles and they made sure that my doctor’s appointments were over 20 miles but under 30. Well now I am actually homeless I didn’t raise enough money to satisfy the managers of the RV Park so I got my eviction notice and had to be out by July 2nd 2018. My new address is 700 Westport Parkway Haslet Texas, Amazon fulfillment center. I’m telling you right now this is been one big klusterfuk working for Amazon. I was perfectly fine over a year ago before I started working for them now am I not only injured I’m homeless. I never dreamed that I would actually be homeless living out of my car at the age of 49 working for the world’s richest man and yet here i am. I want to thank everybody who came out there are late that’s a lie to my story that I have covers on they also have my YouTube channel titled my life as an Amazon employee.”
So far, Allen has raised over $3,000 towards her goal of $5,000.
4. She Was Only Given One Week of Paid Sick Leave for Her Injuries
The cause for Allen’s homelessness stems to the amount of unpaid leave Amazon never compensated Allen for. Over her nine months of issues with her injury, including weeks of unpaid leave and hospital visits, Allen told The Guardian that Amazon offered to pay her a one-time buyout for $3,500.
Allen explained, ”They offered me a buyout, only for $3,500, which meant I would have to sign a non-disclosure agreement to not say anything derogatory about Amazon or my experience.”
Allen rejected the offer specifically so that she could speak out about Amazon’s poor treatment of her. She said, “They cost me my home, they screwed me over and over and I go days without eating.”
5. Allen Has Pointed Out That She Works for the Richest Man in the World, & Yet Still Is Homeless
Allen’s assertion that she worked for Jeff Bezos, the wealthiest man on earth, while she is currently homeless, has sparked outrage across the internet.
One user tweeted, “They CANT quit, thats the thing, finding a job is really hard. The problem is having the CEO of Amazon having 25 bathrooms when his employees are being pushed to being homeless Get your priorities straight what is wrong with people.”
Another tweeted, “God, this company – and Jeff Bezos – are evil.”
Yet another applauded Allen’s “backbone” for standing up to Amazon, tweeting, “The backbone on this woman, saying no to a miserly but sorely needed payoff tied to a silencing clause, so she could speak up about corporate abuse on behalf of herself and others. Mad respect”