While Jeff Bezos rakes in billions of dollars, employees at Amazon warehouses complain of poor compensation and dangerous working conditions. Now, one Amazon warehouse contractor has been sued by employees and forced to settle for a reported $1.9 million.
The plaintiffs supplied a litany of allegations against California Cartage Co., a logistics contractor, and a group of staffing companies that housed Amazon products. Those included:
- Wage theft;
- Failure to comply with minimum wage law;
- Unsafe working conditions;
- And retaliation for making complaints.
While Amazon was not specifically named in the lawsuit, reports of labor violations seem to follow the company no matter where it goes. That includes allegations of excessive heat within Amazon warehouses. Employees said that they were not allowed to take rest breaks despite the excessive heat within the warehouse.
Amazon Lawsuits Awarded Certified Class
In 2016, Amazon workers were awarded a certified class in a lawsuit that alleged that Amazon conducted security screenings on their lunch breaks while simultaneously refusing to pay them for being off the clock. Since the workers were forced to wait in line and pass through a medical detector on their way back from lunch, they were only given around 15 minutes to get their lunch and to eat it. The lawsuit states that as soon as the employees get to the line, they are considered on the clock.
In 2014, the Supreme Court unanimously agreed that employees could not sue Amazon for overtime pay based on time spent waiting in line to clear the security screen.
Amazon Charges UK Employees “Bus Benefit”
UK employees have filed complaints against Amazon, claiming that they make less than minimum wage due to a mandatory “bus benefit” charge deducted from their paycheck.
Amazon Sued in Seattle for Misclassification
Former delivery drivers working for Amazon sued the company, alleging that they were misclassified as independent contractors as opposed to full employees. Independent contractors are not entitled to overtime or benefits, and their compensation is generally not considered for minimum wage requirements.
Most states use the IRS and Department of Labor guidelines to determine whether or not employees can be classified as independent contractors. Amazon’s drivers, however, are allowed to sign up for shifts which, in practice, blurs the distinction between an employee and contractor. Most employees are not allowed to set their own hours. Despite that, Amazon’s drivers maintain an exclusive relationship with the company, find it to be their primary source of income, and may find that a sympathetic judge or jury would side with them despite one notable difference between Amazon’s drivers and most employees.
Bay Area Shift Manager Sues Amazon for Overtime Wages
Last summer, a Bay Area shift manager sued Amazon for failure to pay him overtime wages. Michael Ortiz says that Amazon classified him as an executive or professional employee who could be salaried. California, which has many employee-friendly labor laws, requires that the duties of those exempted from overtime (executive employees) are at least 51% managerial in nature. Ortiz contends that he and other shift managers spend most of their time working on the floor doing the same tasks his employees did.
HKM Employment Attorneys Handle Labor Lawsuits in Nevada
If your employer has violated your civil rights, misclassified you for the purpose of denying you overtime, or otherwise illegally abused their employees, the Las Vegas attorneys at HKM Employment Law can help.