Amazon Prime Now delivery drivers have filed a class action lawsuit against the organisation claiming that they have been wrongfully classified as independent contractors rather than employees and thus denied overtime pay, employee benefits and compensation, and fuel expenses.
Four drivers have filed the suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court against both Amazon and its contracted courier service Scoobeez, which hires the drivers as independent contractors, as well as ABT Holdings, which holds a majority stake in Scoobeez.
The drivers make deliveries in their personal vehicles and cover all fuel, insurance and maintenance costs. They earn $11 an hour before covering these costs. The minimum wage in California is $9 an hour.
The drivers work regular shifts, scheduled by the defendents, and are paid by the hour.
Drivers contracted by Scoobeez are based at Amazon warehouses in Southern California. The firm recently extended its partnership with Amazon into San Francisco.
In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs argues that drivers ’cannot reject work assignments, nor can they request that their deliveries be restricted to a particular geographic area’. It adds that those who fail to do so ’are subject to discipline up to and including termination’.
The class action complaint alleges failure to pay minimum wage, overtime compensation and reporting pay, as well as failure to reimburse expenses and failure to provide meal periods.
The plaintiffs are seeking trial by jury.
The issue of employee status has increasingly surfaced in the last year, with cases brought against organisations such Uber and FedEx. Uber is currently facing a similar case in San Francisco after a federal judge approved a class action lawsuit for certain drivers seeking employee status.