Around 10 employee-designed posters in the elevators at the Amazon headquarters in Seattle were defaced over the past two months, leaving employees uncomfortable with both the incident and the company's reaction.
According to internal emails seen by CNBC, the posters were designed to encourage inclusivity. An unknown culprit crossed out the "T" in "LGBT," or simply wrote "Why?" over the Pride message.
In response, Amazon replaced the posters and included the message, "Posters are company property. Defacing posters is a violation of Amazon's policy."
That was not good enough for a number of employees, as depicted by over 100 responses in an internal email thread last week. Many felt that that Amazon did not effectively stand up for LGBTQ employees.
"The proper response to widespread pride poster defacement is not only a policy that prohibits defacement, but also a massive and overwhelming show of support for pride in many forms," one email read.
"I know people personally who came very close to quitting Amazon as a consequence of those defacements," another read.
Many felt that the reaction was too "corporate."
"It's authoritarian and un-Amazonian," one employee wrote about the warning that employees cannot deface company property. "That poster is the most corporate-borg thing I have seen in my almost 7 years with the company."
"This policy won't actually do anything to address the goal of stopping bigoted comments related to the poster," one email read. Responses poured in expressing how LGBTQ employees are not guaranteed safety at work and fear over how Amazon's response did not effectively protect them.
Others called for Amazon to install security cameras in the elevator to catch the perpetrators and putting up a clearer message addressing that the behavior was bigotted and unacceptable.
"A clear message of 'we don't do that here' might not change the opinions of bigoted individuals," one Amazon staffer said. "But I would be happy with just making it clear that bad behavior won't be tolerated at work."
"Amazon allows employees to create their own posters to advertise events across our campus," the tech company told CNBC in a statement. "When we learned a few posters celebrating Pride were defaced, we worked quickly with the employees who created them to have them replaced, and we published new posters to reiterate our policy that posters shouldn't be altered. Since then, no other incidents have been reported."