Delivery Drivers Bring Class Action Lawsuit Against Amazon
The drivers allege Amazon is their real employer and is liable for wage and hour violations
Terrell Marshall Law Group PLLC, Frank Freed Subit & Thomas LLP, and the Backlund Law Firm PLLC filed a joint employer class action lawsuit today against Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) on behalf of drivers who deliver packages for the online company. Amazon uses intermediaries, known as “delivery providers,” to distribute parcels to consumers throughout Washington. The intermediaries hire and pay the drivers who make the deliveries, but the drivers perform Amazon’s integral service of package delivery and are subject to Amazon’s rules, procedures, and policies. Under the law, workers can be considered employees of two or more companies at once—a situation known as “joint employment.” Each joint employer is responsible for complying with worker protection laws and may be held liable for wage and hour violations.
In this lawsuit, the delivery drivers allege Amazon is a joint employer for several reasons, including that Amazon requires drivers to wear Amazon uniforms and use Amazon mobile devices to track deliveries; Amazon requires drivers to make deliveries within certain timeframes, under detailed instructions from Amazon, and along specific routes determined by Amazon; and Amazon requires drivers to answer to other Amazon employees each work day. “The reality,” says attorney Toby Marshall, “is that Amazon controls how, when, and where the drivers perform their jobs, and the drivers depend on Amazon for their livelihood.”
According to attorney Marc Cote, the approach Amazon has taken with delivery drivers is not unique: “There’s been a significant increase recently in the number of companies using intermediaries to keep labor costs down. When workers are economically dependent on the principal companies that use intermediaries, those principal companies are responsible as employers for complying with wage and hour laws.”
The drivers who filed the lawsuit claim they are not getting proper rest and meal breaks, are not being compensated for all hours worked, and are not receiving the full overtime pay that is owed to them. They seek to recover back wages and other damages from Amazon.
Attorney Andy Backlund—who represents the workers along with Mr. Marshall and Mr. Cote—says, “Current and former Amazon delivery provider drivers can call us to share their experiences and learn more about their rights.”
The lawsuit against Amazon is pending in King County Superior Court on behalf of two plaintiffs, Gus Ortiz and Mark Fredley, and the following proposed class: All persons who, between December 20, 2014 and the present, have performed services for Amazon in Washington as non-managerial and non-supervisory package delivery drivers and who have been paid by a contracted service provider with an Amazon Delivery Provider agreement.
Representing the plaintiffs are Seattle attorneys Toby Marshall and Eric Nusser of Terrell Marshall Law Group PLLC, Marc Cote and Christie Fix of Frank Freed Subit & Thomas LLP, and Andy Backlund of the Backlund Law Firm PLLC.