I have no sympathy for an executive at Amazon who was “fired for upgrading to business class” (which doesn’t seem to be the case at all). If he abused company travel policy, he deserved to be fired.
Don’t Abuse Company Travel Policy If You Want To Keep Your Job
Marc Sadeghi was hired to run the visual effects department for Amazon Studio, located in Southern California. Amazon’s travel policy is clear: everyone flies coach. If you want to upgrade, pay for it on your own dime. This was not only communicated to Sadeghi, but part of his written contract.
Nevertheless, when it came time to travel to New Zealand he demanded business class, citing his scoliosis and sciatica. He we rebuffed, even though he claimed it would take him two weeks to recover from flying coach (he was allegedly told “bummer” in response).
While he did seek a medical clearance, the bureaucracy within Amazon moves slowly and it was not ready ahead of his trip.
Sadeghi then ordered his assistant to find a way to upgrade him. Eventually, he instructed his assistant to use a company credit card to upgrade him to business class.
When Sadeghi returned from New Zealand, he was called into Amazon’s HR office where he was quizzed on his conduct:
- “Have you ever asked your assistant to run personal errands?”
- “Have you ever sent your assistant a picture of a cartoon penis?”
- “Have you ever instructed your assistant to break policy?”
He was forced to turn over his laptop and badge on the spot.
But now he is suing Amazon, claiming:
- disability discrimination
- failing to provide a reasonable accommodation
- wrongful termination
If he misappropriated his company credit card and knowingly violated company policy, I see little merit for this lawsuit.
Trustworthiness is perhaps our greatest asset in the workplace. I have no desire to work with the smartest person in the room if s/he is going to stab me in the back to get ahead. By all accounts, this man agreed to the travel policy, did not stick to it, also seemed to run up other personal expenses on his card, and therefore deserved to be fired.
And can I get on my soapbox for a moment? We have a lot of these types of clients at Award Expert and are proud to help them get upgrades or award travel at very attractive rates. But there’s a certain profile (and yes, I will generalize here). Notoriously stingy. I’ve been stiffed on so many bills from these types. Business class is not free and no one is entitled to it without paying for it, even if you work for a fancy studio. Rant over…
Don’t abuse company travel or credit card policy! It’s that simple. It’s not worth it and it’s not right.
(H/T: Paddle Your Own Kanoo)