Key Words: Amazon warehouse workers, fearful of wasting time, relieved themselves in bottles: undercover investigator

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Social media editor & Drone Reporter

Working in Amazon warehouses is such a demanding job that workers don’t even have time to use the bathroom. That’s according to an ex-Amazon warehouse employee who took his job there as part of research for a book on low-wage jobs in the U.K.

The undercover investigator, James Bloodworth, said his job entailed 10-hour shifts in which he clocked 10 miles of walking each day. The two bathrooms on the ground floor of the four-story warehouse could be as much as a 10-minute, quarter-mile walk away for some warehouse employees.

Related read: Amazon ignored FDA requests for more than a decade

“People just peed in bottles because they lived in fear of being ­disciplined over ‘idle time’ and ­losing their jobs just because they needed the loo,” Bloodworth said in an interview with the British tabloid the Sun. The newspaper is owned by News Corp NWSA, +1.40% which also owns MarketWatch.

‘People just peed in bottles because they lived in fear of being ­disciplined over ‘idle time’ and ­losing their jobs just because they needed the loo.’

Former Amazon employee James Bloodworth

Bloodworth also described the workplace as a “prison” featuring “airport-style security ­scanners where workers are checked and patted down in case they steal,” according to the Sun.

Related read: If you’re over 40 and work, you’re in for some big surprises

Related read: What Google employees should do as the company reviews its corporate culture

This is not the first time Amazon AMZN, +0.47%  has faced backlash over working conditions. A BBC documentary in 2013 similarly depicted harsh working conditions, with employees, for example, having to race a computerized clock as they put orders in a trolley. If they didn’t pick items quickly enough, workers could face disciplinary action.

In 2011, Amazon workers in a warehouse in Allentown, Pa., reportedly fainted due to temperatures in the building that soared above 95 degrees. Some workers required hospital treatment, prompting complaints to federal authorities.

Amazon is disputing the current allegations.

“Amazon provides a safe and positive workplace for thousands of people across the UK with competitive pay and benefits from day one,” Amazon said in a statement. “We have not been provided with confirmation that the people who completed the survey worked at Amazon and we don’t recognize these allegations as an accurate portrayal of activities in our buildings.”

Amazon shares have gained 62% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 SPX, +0.85%  has gained 15% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.92%  has added 20%.

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