Staff at $2bn start-up allege bombs, assaults & harassment

Staff at $2bn start-up allege bombs, assaults & harassment

Employees at a multi-billion-dollar start-up have accused management of violent and overly stressful working conditions.

The recipe and meal-kit-delivery service Blue Apron specialises in “reinventing dinner”, by packaging healthy meal boxes and having them delivered to customer’s homes.

Despite their success, the company is now under fire from disgruntled employees based at the firm’s main warehouse fulfilment centre in Richmond, USA.

A report by BuzzFeed found that Blue Apron ran a “less-than-stringent hiring process”, relying heavily on part-time staff which in turn led to allegedly difficult working conditions.

In the 39 months since Blue Apron launched, police have been called to the warehouse to respond to two weapon complaints, three bomb threats and seven calls alleging assault – from this, four arrests have been made.

Nisha Devarajan, a spokesperson for Blue Apron, told Business Insider: “In parts of 2014 and 2015, we experienced difficulty with several temporary staffing agencies in Richmond who did not meet our performance standards and sometimes provided workers who did not always abide by our policies and procedures or share our values.

“As a result, Blue Apron quickly ended its relationship with these agencies.”

Employees told BuzzFeed that the stress to meet the demands of the consumers grew and grew as the business increased their client base. One worker told the publication: “It was crazy. You felt like you were running all the time.”

BuzzFeed went on to report that staff complained of being “punched, choked, groped and pushed”, and that the violence hit a peak in 2015 when the General Manager hired a safety supervisor for the facility.

However, Devarajan remained adamant that conditions had improved since then, saying: “Precisely because Blue Apron takes its employee safety so seriously and has a zero tolerance policy, our local management team will call the police to help investigate any incident big or small such as a verbal threat or physical altercation, or the loss of personal items like a cell phone.

“Dozens of calls may be logged related to collaboration on any given incident, and many calls could be related to no specific incident at all.”

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