California Amazon Relay Drivers Owed Unpaid Wages, Class Action Alleges
by Erin Shaak
Escobar v. Amazon.com, LLC et al.
Filed: October 8, 2021 ◆§ 5:21-cv-01725
A class action claims Amazon Relay drivers in California have been misclassified as independent contractors and denied statutory protections under state law.
A proposed class action claims Amazon Relay drivers in California have been misclassified as independent contractors and denied “basic statutory rights and protections” they should have been afforded under state law.
According to the lawsuit, defendants Amazon.com, LLC and Amazon Logistics, Inc. have misclassified California Relay drivers as independent contractors instead of bona fide employees entitled to minimum and overtime wages and other protections afforded under the California Labor Code. As a result, the workers were denied proper wages for every hour worked, statutory meal and rest breaks, accurate wage statements, reimbursement for business expenses and other employee compensation and benefits protected under state law.
The case, filed by a former Relay driver, alleges that Amazon “knew or should have known” of its duty to properly compensate employees, and had the financial ability to do so, yet “willfully, knowingly, and intentionally failed” to pay the workers proper wages. Per the case, Amazon increased its profits while representing to employees that they were being paid in accordance with the law.
According to the complaint, drivers who were part of Amazon’s Relay program, through which the company has provided logistics and delivery services to California clients, were not paid for every hour worked given their hours were not properly recorded. More specifically, the lawsuit alleges the drivers were denied time-and-a-half overtime wages when they worked more than eight hours in a day or 40 in a week, and double-time wages when they worked more than 12 hours in a day. Further, Amazon Relay drivers were not paid at least the minimum wage for off-the-clock work, the case charges.
The complaint moreover claims Amazon workers were denied 30-minute, uninterrupted meal periods every five hours and 10-minute rest periods every four hours. According to the suit, Amazon failed to properly coordinate its staff’s schedules and customer appointments to allow for the workers to take uninterrupted breaks, which resulted in drivers having to cut their breaks short, skip them altogether or take them later than allowed by law. Further, Amazon allegedly failed to pay the drivers one hour of pay at their regular rate each time a proper break was missed.
The suit goes on to allege Amazon Relay drivers were deprived of accurate wage statements in accordance with California law, as well as timely payment of all wages upon termination and reimbursement for business expenses.
The lawsuit, which was initially filed on August 11 in San Bernardino County Superior Court before being removed to California’s Central District Court on October 8, looks to represent anyone who worked for the defendants in California as an Amazon Relay driver or in a similar position at any time within the last four years and until the date of class certification.
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