Amazon chief defends workplace conditions following NYT report

Amazon chief Jeff Bezos described an article originally published by The New York Times portraying the difficult work environment at the online retailer as not the Amazon he knows.

The article reported that Amazon employees have to put extraordinarily long hours t work and are encouraged to openly criticise co-workers' ideas.

According to a former employee quoted in the article, "Amazon is where overachievers go to feel bad about themselves."

The report pointed to a lack of empathy for employees' health-related issues, with the example of a female employee with breast cancer being placed on a performance improvement plan "as personal issues were affecting her work".

In a memo to employees sent late Sunday and obtained by USA Today, Bezos defended the culture at Amazon and asked employees who heard of similar stories to contact him as also human resources.

"Even if it's rare or isolated, our tolerance for any such lack of empathy needs to be zero," Bezos said in the memo.