Amazon announced on Tuesday that it supports federal marijuana legalization and that it is revising a contentious workplace policy that critics claim was used to keep employees working at a breakneck pace.
The twin announcements are meant to reaffirm Amazon’s commitment to being a desirable employer, according to the company.
According to a blog post by Dave Clark, CEO of Amazon’s worldwide consumer division, changing state laws on marijuana mean Amazon (AMZN) will no longer include the drug in pre-employment drug tests and will instead treat it like alcohol.
The marijuana test will still be used in positions regulated by the US Department of Transportation, according to Clark, who also stated that the company will “continue to do impairment checks on the job and will test for all drugs and alcohol after any incident.”
Clark went on to say that Amazon supports the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, a federal marijuana legalization bill. “We hope other employers will join us, and that policymakers will act swiftly to pass this law.”
Amazon is also looking into its so-called Time off Task policy, which analyzes how much time employees spend on breaks to track their productivity. Time off Task, according to critics, contributes to a stressful work environment by treating employees like cogs in a machine rather than people.
Clark appeared to acknowledge the criticism on Tuesday, despite claiming that the policy is easily “misunderstood.”
“The primary goal of the Time off Task metric is to understand whether there are issues with the tools that people use to be productive, and only secondarily to identify under-performing employees,” he wrote. “Starting today, we’re now averaging Time off Task over a longer period to ensure that there’s more signal and less noise—reinforcing the original intent of the program, and focusing Time off Task conversations on how we can help. The goal is to re-focus the conversations on instances where there are likely true operational issues to resolve. We believe this change will help ensure the Time off Task policy is used in the way it was intended.”