Amazon boss Jeff Bezos has defended the working practices at his company after a scathing article in The New York Times made working the online retailer sound like hell on earth.

The article in question, Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas In A Bruising Workplace, was based on the interviews of over 100 former and current employees, and it describes a working environment that appears to be utterly devoid of empathy with expectations and attitudes to work that border on inhumane.

Bezos responded to the article in an internal memo to Amazon’s staff, which has since been picked up by news outlets. In it he wrote, “The article doesn’t describe the Amazon I know or the caring Amazonians I work with every day. But if you know of any stories like those reported, I want you to escalate to HR.”

“I strongly believe that anyone working in a company that really is like the one described in the NYT would be crazy to stay. I know I would leave such a company,” he added.

In the memo, Bezos also invited employees to email him directly about any incidents they experience that are similar to those in the New York Times article saying “even if it’s rare or isolated, our tolerance for any such lack of empathy needs to be zero”.

A couple of the incidents described in the article include one female employee allegedly being told that she was expected to go on a business trip one day after she’d suffered a miscarriage and another allegedly being put on a performance review after she was diagnosed with breast cancer.