Companies have tried any number of methods of insisting that workers are not in fact their employees. Why? Because regular employees have protections under laws like the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), while independent contractors do not. The complaint for this class action claims that Amazon.com, LLC and Amazon Logistics, Inc. avoid their responsibilities to delivery drivers by claiming they work for On the Go Express, LLC and not Amazon.
The collective class for this FLSA action is all current and former drivers who were paid by On the Go Express, LLC to deliver packages for Amazon in the US during the applicable statute of limitations period.
The complaint contends that, although the drivers who deliver Amazon packages supposedly work for On the Go, Amazon is their joint employer, because it has such extensive control over their work.
On the Go provides vehicles and drivers to serve Amazon, and Amazon Logistics works with the delivery providers to deliver packages. According to the complaint, however, the relationship is closer than it appears. The complaint says that Amazon gives providers like On the Go “exclusive deals on Amazon-branded vans, comprehensive insurance and other services.” It also provides “access to vehicle maintenance, fuel program, professional uniforms, recruitment tools, payroll, tax, and accounting services, health and employees benefits, and legal support.”
Amazon also maintains control over the drivers, the complaint claims: “Amazon conducts criminal background checks on potential Drivers.” Drivers use Amazon’s package-tracking and navigation Rabbit system and Amazon sets their delivery routes.
“Amazon supervises and controls the work activities, work schedules, conditions and management of Drivers,” and yet these drivers, such as plaintiff Kyle Stewart, are paid flat day rates for their work that do not include any additional pay for overtime hours.
The complaint alleges that Stewart and his colleagues work six to seven days per week for Amazon and that their shifts are ten hours long, although their work may take longer than that to complete. The drivers are not given lunch breaks or rest breaks because they are required to deliver so many packages per day. “In fact,” the complaint claims, due to the lack of breaks, “Plaintiff has to relieve himself in bottles during his route.”
Stewart and his colleagues claim they are thus not paid for all hours worked, not paid proper overtime, and not paid for their missed lunch and rest breaks. Amazon does not keep accurate records of drivers’ hours. The complaint claims that Amazon sets the conditions and rules for the drivers’ employment but attempts to shield itself from liability for its wage and hour violations by putting companies like On the Go between themselves and the drivers.
The complaint claims that the drivers should be paid as regular, non-exempt employees and that Amazon should be liable for ensuring that they are paid according the FLSA.