A proposed class action looks to represent current and former Amazon employees in the United States who took short-term military leave from October 10, 2004 through the present.
The 12-page case alleges Amazon.com, Inc.; Amazon.com Services, LLC; and Amazon.com Sales, Inc. have violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) by maintaining a policy and practice of failing to pay employees when they take short-term military leave, i.e. leave lasting 30 days or fewer, yet continuing to pay employees who take short-term nonmilitary leave, including for jury duty or bereavement.
The suit relays that USERRA mandates that an employer must provide paid military leave to the same extent that it provides paid leave for other comparable nonmilitary leaves of absence. Upon information and belief, Amazon had in 2020 alone at least 8,000 Reservists and National Guard members under employment, and employs more than 40,000 veterans and military spouses nationwide, the lawsuit says.
The plaintiff, a New York resident who worked for Amazon as a fulfillment associate from approximately July to September 2019, was and remains an active-duty member of the U.S. Army Reserve, the case states. As such, the plaintiff was required to take no fewer than two short-term military leaves of absence during her employment with Amazon to attend mandatory training, according to the complaint. The plaintiff’s military service qualified as participation in uniformed services within the meaning of USERRA, the suit asserts.
The lawsuit alleges that although the plaintiff properly requested and was granted both short-term military leaves separately, she was directly informed that the leaves were unpaid, and received no wages for either short-term stint away from Amazon. Per the case, the alleged USERRA violation comes into play due to the fact that Amazon, despite not paying workers on short-term military leave, pays those who take comparable short-term nonmilitary leave, such as for jury duty, bereavement or sick leave.
Amazon, the suit says, pays workers for up to 10 days of jury duty leave and up to three days for bereavement leave.
“Accordingly, Amazon treats military leave less favorably than it treats nonmilitary leave,” the case claims.
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