Amazon Pivot Program Lawyer – Representation for Employees Facing Performance Measures

Over the years, firm founder Steve Teller has gained substantial experience assisting Amazon employees with pivot and performance improvement process matters, as well as representing employees in a wide range of illegal and discriminatory practices. If you’re facing PIP, progressive discipline, Pivot plan placement, or other performance issues at Amazon, please call my firm to learn how I can help.

Amazon’s Pivot Program is Not Always Fair.  Sometimes it’s discriminatory.  Other times, Amazon violates their own procedures.

If you’re being terminated in connection with Amazon’s Pivot Program, I may be able to help. 


What is Amazon’s Pivot Program?

Amazon says that its Pivot Program is designed to assist employees who may need support and development help.  Employees not meeting management performance expectations have three options – leave with a severance, accept the Pivot program and “improve” at Amazon, or if they fail to convince their manager that they have “improved” then they can appeal Pivot Program placement.  At each stage the worker is offered a progressively lower severance payment in return for a release of claims and promise not to sue.

The Amazon Pivot process typically starts with a development plan, now called “Focus.” Employees are not even informed that they are on such a plan unless they ask. Management then moves to a performance improvement plan phase after that.

If the manager claims the employee failed at the performance improvement plan (or “PIP”), under the appeals process the worker can appeal to their peers for an independent review of the manager’s decision. A successful appeal gives the opportunity to maintain employment at Amazon.

Although the details and program names of this process change with some frequency, the essence of the system remains. Amazon works very hard to recruit good people, and it does want to have an opportunity to maintain them, if the manager is actually wrong about the person’s performance, or if there’s a clear reason why they should maintain employment.

Unfortunately the policy choice of constant turnover means that even good and sometimes great workers get “pivoted” because managers have a performance metric called “unregretted attrition.”  This means if you’re on Pivot, more likely than not your manager is trying to get rid of you, not help you improve.

Is Amazon’s Pivot Program Designed to Make Worker’s Quit?

In my view, yes.

The PIP/Pivot Program process gives Amazon the opportunity to say the person decided to quit, if they accept the severance offer, or that an independent review panel decided to fire them, insulating Amazon from discrimination claims to some degree. It also could be used to insulate Amazon from negative unemployment ratings.

It is important to identify any unlawful motives (e.g., discrimination, retaliation for taking medical leave, etc.) that might support a wrongful termination or discrimination claim while the employee is fighting the appeal, but it is equally important to maintain a solid focus on the business reasons why an employee should be retained. This is not the place to prove your discrimination claims, but it’s also important that they are not ignored in your rebuttal.

How I Can Help Amazon Workers Facing the Pivot Program

I have a very good success rate in helping Amazon employee clients assess their choices, and have supported multiple employees through successful Appeals, while guiding many more to manage the end of their employment on favorable terms, or negotiate upwards from the severance package that is offered.

Be aware that negotiating upwards from the tier one package always includes a demand by Amazon that you agree not to return. Of course, the existence of the PIP or Pivot or development plan is also likely to hinder your future employment and advancement at Amazon, in which case acceptance of a severance package may be the best option.

If you are in this situation, I would encourage you to call my firm to learn more about your options and rights.  I frequently counsel Amazon workers facing performance criticism, discrimination, or wrongful termination, and may be able to assist.