- A class-action suit filed by workers at Amazon.com’s California distribution centers contend they have been denied rest breaks, overtime pay and appropriate payment of wages, the Sacramento Bee reported. The suit was initiated at the new Sacramento fulfillment center at Metro Air Park.
- The complaint states that plaintiff Romeo Palma and other Amazon employees throughout California routinely work more than 10 hours per shift, “without (Amazon) providing or compensating for a third rest break at the overtime rate, as required by California law.”
- Two specific dates of violations are mentioned, as well as Amazon’s alleged practice of demanding workers use a time clock far from their work area within the cavernous fulfillment centers, thus creating still more uncompensated minutes to already long shifts.
The risk of worker dissatisfaction grows as a company rapidly adds staff and expands. And as HR Dive reports, the "Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay nonexempt workers one and a half times their base wage for every hour worked beyond 40 in a workweek — and California has rules requiring overtime when an employee works more than eight hours in a single day, not to mention the break rules."
Amazon has previously faced litigation in a number of areas, including misclassification by drivers for Amazon Flex, a potential loss of pilots suing for overwork at one its contracted air freight shippers, and contract breaches and the bullying of an LTL carrier out of Waco, Texas.
It isn't surprising that employment policies and worker regulations should fall out of whack during the holiday season, when countless new staff members come aboard and efforts to meet customer demand mean that important issues including overtime and fair breaks can fall through the cracks.
Companies can protect themselves by confirming and reiterating fair employment rules with managers on a regular basis, so that lawsuits brought on by overlooked rules are avoided. Otherwise, a company that forfeits its workers' rights risks spending its added profits on an expensive state-wide payout serving as reimbursement.