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Amazon Warehouse Firing of Older, Injured Workers Class Action

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An Amazon Fulfillment Center

If employees are injured in the course of their duties, should they then be fired because they can’t perform those duties any longer? The complaint for this class action alleges that Amazon.com Services, Inc. and its warehouse partner Golden State FC, LLC refused to reassign employees to other duties when they had injuries or disabilities, and that the companies discriminated against older employees.

The class is made up of two subclasses.

  • The Age Discrimination Subclass is all persons over the age of 40 who were employed by Amazon.com Services and Golden State fulfillment centers in California who, between April 15, 2015 and April 15, 2019, because of their age suffered adverse employment actions, including discrimination in terms and conditions of their employment and termination.
  • The Disability Discrimination Subclass is all persons who had a disabling condition and were employed by Amazon.com Service and Golden State fulfillment centers in California who, between April 15, 2015 and April 15, 2019, suffered an adverse action because of a work-related injury or disabling condition. The adverse actions including accrual of points, discharge for points, forced resignation, discrimination in terms of employment, ineligibility for permanent status after a work-related injury, and so on.

Amazon’s warehouse operation has a “points policy” which assigns a point to employees who are absent before they have accrued proper sick leave. If the employee accumulates six points, they are terminated. 

The complaint alleges that employees are often wrongfully terminated under this system because the people who are supposed to process injury-related information “chronically forget, delay, or fail, and otherwise, altogether untimely fail to properly ‘code’ the employees medical leave status in the computer system.” 

Because of this, the employees continue to be assigned points and are eventually terminated. The complaint alleges that the companies are aware of this but “place performance and production metrics above all other focus” and don’t want to keep injured, older or disabled workers. For the same reason, the complaint says, managers and supervisors don’t want injured, older, or disabled workers on their teams and so prefer to “fast-track the injured or disabled employees’ path to termination…”

For example, one of the four plaintiffs suffered a torn tendon in her shoulder when another person bumped a cart into hers, causing a large bag of merchandise to fall on her. Her doctor told her to lift no more than fifteen pounds and not do overhead lifting. However, her supervisor refused to reassign her to sorting or warehouse traffic director, duties she could perform, until she healed. 

Another was sickened from the fumes of diesel trucks starting and running engines inside the warehouse. When he went to Human Resources to discuss this, he was not offered any kind of accommodation but was ordered to resign. 

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