June 21, 2000
KOZMO.COM FIRES APPROXIMATELY 20 SEATTLE EMPLOYEES FOR NOT SIGNING WAIVER
Seattle -- An estimated 20 Kozmo.com employees were fired yesterday for refusing to sign paperwork that would have allowed the company to perform background checks on their personal lives.
The employees -- who worked as messengers, distribution center workers and supervisors -- chose not to sign release forms allowing the company to investigate their credit history and criminal history, as well as more vague personal qualities such as their "general reputation," "personal characteristics" and "mode of living."
One Kozmo.com employee told WashTech that many of the workers who did sign the paperwork by Monday's 6 p.m. deadline are angry that they were forced to choose between their right to privacy and their jobs. While a majority of employees did sign the paperwork, many at the company say they want prevent similar scenarios from happening in the future.
Kozmo.com -- a online retailer of movie rentals, music, books and food that delivers to consumers within an hour -- told the Seattle Times on Saturday that the policy was drafted "to ensure the safety of our customers and employees, create a safe and professional workplace and protect company assets." The paperwork, however, does indicate that the information found in the background checks would be used in promotion and other employment decisions.
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