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Amazon driver told she'd be fired if she stopped delivering packages during tornado warning, report

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Workers remove debris after a tornado destroys an Amazon warehouse in Illinois.
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  • An Amazon driver was told she'd get fired if she returned to base amid tornado sirens, as per Bloomberg.
  • Returning will "end with you not having a job come tomorrow morning," the supervisor said, Bloomberg reported.
  • Amazon said the driver's supervisor didn't follow the standard safety protocols.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

An Amazon driver was told by her supervisor that she would lose her job if she stopped delivering packages, despite warnings of tornadoes in the area, according to a Bloomberg report.

The delivery driver told Bloomberg that her base was located in Edwardsville, Illinois — the same location where six Amazon employees died after a tornado struck a warehouse last week.

Around 80 minutes before the tornado struck the warehouse, the driver sent a message — seen and screenshot by Bloomberg — to the supervisor saying, "radio's been going off."

The supervisor told her to "just keep delivering," adding that "we can't just call people back for a warning unless Amazon tells us to," according to the text messages cited by Bloomberg. A person with knowledge of the situation confirmed to Bloomberg the authenticity of the messages between the driver and the supervisor.

When the driver sent another message to her supervisor, around 30 minutes later, saying that she could hear tornado alarms, the supervisor replied to say she should continue with her deliveries, as per the texts reported by Bloomberg.

The supervisor then sent another message, telling the driver to "shelter in place for now, I just got word from Amazon", per the texts seen by Bloomberg, before adding, "give it about 15-20 minutes and then continue as normal." 

The driver then told her supervisor in a subsequent message that she was going to return to base in Edwardsville for her own personal safety, adding that there was no place to shelter near her and the storm would be on top of her in 30 minutes, Bloomberg reported.

"If you decided to come back, that choice is yours. But I can tell you it won't be viewed as for your own safety. The safest practice is to stay exactly where you are. If you decide to return with your packages, it will be viewed as you refusing your route, which will ultimately end with you not having a job come tomorrow morning," the supervisor then wrote in the text to the driver, as per Bloomberg.

After a few more text messages, the supervisor told the driver to stop and find shelter because a tornado had hit the warehouse and she wouldn't be able to access it, Bloomberg reported.

Amazon didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment about the incident.

A company spokesperson told Bloomberg in a statement that the supervisor didn't follow the standard safety protocols. They should have told the driver to find shelter if the driver could hear tornado sirens, the spokesperson said.

"Under no circumstance should the dispatcher have threatened the driver's employment, and we're investigating the full details of this incident and will take any necessary action," the spokesperson added.

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