A lawsuit claiming that one of Amazon’s fulfillment centers in California failed to provide necessary meal breaks for employees has been moved to federal court as attorneys seek class action status. First filed in San Francisco County Superior Court in February, the case was transferred to the US District Court in California, Northern District on Friday.
Lovenia Scott, a former employee at the Vacaville, California, warehouse, alleges that the company failed to schedule the required 30-minute meal breaks for workers. When they had their meal breaks, workers were expected to monitor their walkie-talkies in case of any problems on the floor, sometimes cutting off their break time, according to the lawsuit.
The issue of paying workers for the time they spend waiting for employers outside of working hours has also arisen in other cases. The Supreme Court ruled in 2014 that Amazon workers at a Nevada warehouse had no right to pay for the time they spent waiting for their bags to be searched after checking out, but before exiting the building.
Earlier this month, in a separate case, Amazon and an independent contractor it worked with in California were fined $ 6.4 million for wage theft by the California Labor Commission Office. The state investigation in that case found that Green Messengers, Amazon’s subcontractor, underpaid drivers and scheduled them 10-hour shifts, but with a workload that forced drivers to skip lunch and rest breaks.
Because of the way meal breaks were arranged in Vacaville, Scott says, many workers took their breaks at the same time. Lines were formed in the computer system where employees passed their credentials to mark their break time, meaning those at the end of the line saw their breaks shortened while waiting for their turn. Scott’s lawsuit also says the shifts were “chronically understaffed,” leaving some employees unable to take short 10-minute breaks to finish their work on time.
Additionally, the workers were not compensated for using their personal cell phones to perform work tasks, the lawsuit states. Scott, who worked at the Vacaville warehouse from October 2016 to January 2019, also says Amazon didn’t pay his final salary on time.
Amazon has been arguing with US senators on Twitter in recent days via its @AmazonNews account, questioning, among other things, the accuracy of reports that some of its delivery drivers are so busy they had to urinate in bottles. because they didn’t. have time to go to the bathroom. However, numerous news reports support this claim. And Monday is the deadline for workers at the Amazon plant in Bessemer, Alabama, to vote on whether to form the first Amazon union in the US.
Amazon did not respond to a request for comment on Saturday.