A lawsuit alleging that one of Amazon’s California fulfillment centers failed to provide required meal breaks for employees has moved to federal court as attorneys pursue class-action status. The case was first filed in the San Francisco County Superior Court in February and was referred to the US District Court California, Northern District on Friday.
Lovenia Scott, a former employee of the Vacaville, California warehouse, claims the company has not scheduled the required 30-minute meal breaks for employees. When given their meal breaks, workers were expected to keep an eye on their walkie-talkies in case there were problems on the floor, sometimes shortening their breaks, the suit claims.
The issue of paying employees for the time they spend waiting for employers outside of the clock has been raised in other cases as well. The Supreme Court ruled in 2014 that Amazon employees in a Nevada warehouse were not entitled to payment for the time they spent waiting to search their bags after clocking out but before exiting the building.
Earlier this month, Amazon and an independent contractor it partnered with in California were on a separate case was fined $ 6.4 million for wage theft by the office of the California Labor Commission. The state investigation in that case found that Green Messengers, Amazon’s subcontractor, underpaid drivers, who scheduled 10-hour days but with a workload that forced drivers to skip meal and rest breaks.
Because of the way meal breaks were organized in Vacaville, Scott claims, many workers took their breaks at the same time. Lines formed at the computer system where employees swiped their badges to clock out for their break time, meaning those at the end of the queue saw their breaks cut short while they waited their turn. Scott’s lawsuit also says that shifts were “chronically understaffed,” which prevented some employees from taking short 10-minute breaks to complete their work on time.
In addition, employees were not paid for using their personal cell phones to perform work tasks, the lawsuit alleges. Scott, who worked in Vacaville’s warehouse from October 2016 to January 2019, also says Amazon failed to pay its final wages on time.
Amazon has been bickering with US senators on Twitter through its @AmazonNews account in recent days, questioning, among other things, the veracity of reports that some of its delivery drivers are so overworked that they had to pee in bottles because they did not. have time to take toilet breaks. Numerous news reports support this claimhowever. And Monday is the deadline for employees at Amazon’s factory in Bessemer, Alabama to vote on whether to form the first-ever Amazon union in the US.
Amazon did not respond to a request for comment on Saturday.