Four former Amazon Prime Now delivery drivers in Orange County, California have sued Amazon seeking back wages and other restitution and hope that the suit will be granted class action status.
Amazon is not the only target
The employees who have sued Amazon have also filed suit against the courier company Scoobeez and its parent company ABT Holdings.
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Scoobeez effectively works exclusively for Amazon leading the former employees to believe that they should be considered employees of Amazon and it’s Prime Now delivery service. Prime Now has an annual membership fee of $99 and offers one-hour and two-hour delivery to members in around 15 metropolitan areas. The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Tuesday.
The suit brings numerous allegations against Amazon.
“Defendants schedule plaintiffs to work regular shifts, pay them by the hour, and assign packages for plaintiffs to deliver to Amazon Prime Now customers who place orders for one- to two-hour delivery of all manner of consumer goods using the Amazon Prime Now mobile application,” the complaint reads. “Plaintiffs perform their delivery duties wearing a uniform that identifies them to customers as representatives of Amazon Prime Now. Despite these and other clear indicia that plaintiffs are and were defendants’ employees, defendants have classified them as ‘independent contractors’ and, in so doing, have denied them the benefits and protections of California employment law.”
Additional complaints against Amazon in the suit
The lawsuit claims, “The workers used their own cars to make deliveries, and they had to pay for their own fuel, insurance, maintenance, tolls, or other vehicle expenses. The out-of-pocket costs were too steep for the drivers.”
As well, the complaint reads, “The plaintiffs should have received employees’ benefits, since they couldn’t refuse or pick deliveries, were required to wear official uniforms and were expected to work regular shifts for six to seven days a week. Those benefits include overtime pay, lunch breaks and paid leaves, among others.”
The Leonard Carder law firm is representing the workers with Beth A. Ross as leading council. Ms. Ross previously reached a $227 million settlement in a similar case with Federal Express and their FedEx Ground service.
Will Uber be next after Amazon?
Uber has made a lot of money off the hard work of its on-demand drivers by hiring them as independent contractors. If Uber was forced to reclassify its drivers as employees, the costs would be astronomical. In California alone where the Amazon suit was filed, we’re talking about hundreds of millions of dollars in benefits.