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ACLU to Amazon Employees: Come to Us With Your Grievances

The ad targets "Amazon employees who believe they were unlawfully penalized because of their decision to have children, or because they were caring for a sick relative or recovering from an illness."

Win McNamee / Getty Images

Amazon’s workplace issues are not blowing over. Yet.

In the wake of a tough New York Times article chronicling the work environment for some employees inside Amazon, the American Civil Liberties Union has taken out an ad in Amazon’s hometown newspaper calling on Amazon employees who feel they have been “unlawfully penalized” to reach out to the nonprofit with their story.

“Amazon employees who believe they were unlawfully penalized because of their decision to have children, or because they were caring for a sick relative or recovering from an illness of their own, can contact us at GenderEqualityAmazon@aclu.org by October 1st, 2015, to explore the possibility of legal representation,” the full-page ad in the Seattle Times said.

The New York Times article included anecdotes from employees who said they were given sub-par evaluations or singled out after suffering personal crises such as miscarriages and cancer diagnoses or caring for ill family members. Others felt they were singled out for leaving at the end of the day to spend time with their families.

“In America today, those employees are disproportionately women,” said the ad, which the Seattle Times reported on earlier.

An ACLU spokeswoman stressed to Re/code that the group is only soliciting employees who believe they were unlawfully singled out, and not those who simply have issues with their managers or other workplace stresses.

“We’re not going after folks saying, ‘Oh, managers here are mean and there are a lot of tears,’” she said.

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos wasn’t quoted in the New York Times investigation but responded to it in a memo to Amazon employees over the weekend. He said the Times piece “doesn’t describe the Amazon I know” while simultaneously urging employees who experience “callous management practices” to contact HR or Bezos directly.

“That is a welcome first step,” the ACLU ad said, “but it is not enough.”

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.

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