A proposed class and collective action claims Amazon has failed to pay workers proper overtime wages and discriminated against female employees by paying them less than male employees with similar experience.
The 35-page case was filed by a female employee at Amazon’s Stockton, California warehouses and alleges defendants Amazon.com Services, Inc. and Amazon.com Services, LLC hired her husband, a “male with comparable qualifications and experiences,” for the same position a few months after she started and “inexplicably” paid him significantly more. Per the case out of California federal court, the plaintiff’s experience is not an isolated incident but rather a pattern of conduct on Amazon’s part.
“Plaintiff is informed and believes that there is no bona fide factor, other than gender, that would explain the disparate wages paid to her and her male counterpart,” the complaint relays. “Plaintiff is further informed and believes Defendants have a pattern and practice of underpaying female employees when compared to their male counterparts with similar experience, education, and job duties.”
The lawsuit further alleges that Amazon has violated federal and state labor laws by failing to provide accurate wage statements and failing to include all workers’ wages, including sign-on bonuses, shift differentials, “Guarantee Pay” and other additional payments, as part of the employees’ regular rates when calculating time-and-a-half overtime pay.
The plaintiff says she began working for Amazon in January 2020 as an onsite medical representative primarily assigned to the defendants’ Stockton, California warehouse locations. Per the case, the plaintiff received a base hourly wage of $21.88 and an initial sign-on bonus of $8,000 to be followed by a second payment of $6,000 after one year.
A few months after the plaintiff started, in April 2020, Amazon hired her husband as an onsite medical representative at the same locations. Although the man had comparable qualifications and experience and was hired for “the identical position” as his wife, he was offered a base hourly rate of $23.80, an initial sign-on bonus of $10,000 and a second payment of $7,000 after one year, the suit relays.
The plaintiff argues that the only factor that would explain the disparate wages paid to her and her male counterpart is gender and claims it is Amazon’s pattern and practice to pay female employees less than their male counterparts.
The suit goes on to allege that the sign-on bonuses paid to the plaintiff and her husband were “earned” on a pro-rata daily basis over a period of time. As such, the payments should have been included as part of the workers’ regular rates of pay for the purpose of calculating overtime wages, the lawsuit argues. Moreover, workers allegedly received shift differentials and other types of wages referred to by Amazon as “Guarantee Pay” and “additionalpay.” According to the case, however, Amazon failed to include these types of remuneration when calculating the plaintiff’s and other workers’ overtime and doubletime rates. The lawsuit alleges Amazon’s exclusion of some types of compensation from its overtime calculations violates both state and federal law and has deprived workers of due wages.
The case further claims that the wage statements provided to the plaintiff and other Amazon workers were “confusing” and violated state law in that they failed to accurately identify the total number of hours worked for each pay period.
The suit goes on to state that the plaintiff in May 2021 sent a letter to the California Labor & Workforce Development Agency and the defendants detailing Amazon’s alleged violations of state law. Per the case, the defendants retaliated against the plaintiff for complaining about their alleged misconduct by refusing her a promotion that she qualified for and denying her a schedule change that she should have been entitled to given her seniority. According to the suit, “[t]he mistreatment is ongoing.”
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