Employment Law

Amazon cutting ‘several hundred’ jobs in Alexa division, Canadians affected

A photo of a person carrying their belongings in a cardboard box. (Photo: Freepik / Google Images)

For the third time in less than two weeks, Amazon scaling back its staffing levels.

In a memo to staff that was obtained by GeekWire, Daniel Rausch, vice-president of Alexa and Fire TV, said “several hundred roles” in the Alexa division are being eliminated as the e-commerce giant maximizes its “resources and efforts focused on generative AI.”

“To those of you impacted by these reductions, please know we did not make this decision lightly,” Rausch said in the Nov. 17 memo.

“I want to sincerely thank you for all your hard work and dedication to the organization, and to our customers.”

Employees in Canada and the U.S. who are affected by the layoffs have been notified.

Rausch added that Amazon will “communicate with impacted colleagues in India next week, and are following local processes in other regions.”

The announcement comes just days after reports claimed that the company had cut jobs in its gaming and Music divisions.

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Major tech layoffs continue

Amazon isn’t the only major tech company that has announced sweeping layoffs in 2023.

Big names, including Informatica, Ubisoft, Bungie, Splunk, Nokia, LinkedIn, Google, Dell, Telus, and Meta, have announced deep job cuts as they continue to navigate challenging economic conditions.

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• Where are layoffs happening in Canada?

Termination agreements for Amazon employees

As part of the layoff announcement, Rausch said Amazon will provide affected staff with packages that include “a separation payment, transitional health insurance benefits, external job placement support, and paid time to conduct your job search.”

In Canada, non-unionized employees at the e-commerce giant are owed full severance pay when they lose their jobs due to downsizing, corporate restructuring, or the closure of the business.

This includes individuals working full-time, part-time, or hourly in Ontario, Alberta, and B.C.

People working “on contract” or as a contractor may also be owed severance pay — given that many employees in Canada are often misclassified as independent contractors.

Severance can be as much as 24 months’ pay, depending on a number of factors.

Rights to severance for provincially regulated employees
Severance entitlements during mass layoffs
Severance packages in a recession

WATCH: Employment lawyer Lior Samfiru explains what rights employees have if they are being fired or let go on an episode of the Employment Law Show.

Before you accept any severance offer, have an experienced employment lawyer at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP review it and your employment contract.

We can tell you if what you have been provided is fair and how to get proper severance if it falls short of what you are actually owed.

If you don’t receive the full amount, which happens often, you have been wrongfully dismissed and are entitled to compensation.

In some cases, employers pressure staff into accepting poor severance packages, such as imposing a deadline for accepting the offer.

Non-unionized employees in Canada have up to two years from the date of their dismissal to pursue a claim for full severance pay.

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