A Sacramento man filed a complaint last week, alleging that the Amazon warehouse in Sacramento has working conditions that violate state and federal employment laws. Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that the workers scheduled to work 10 or more hours are not given a third rest break, do not get overtime pay, and do not get time to travel to and from the time clock to clock in.
According to the lawsuit, it’s very common for workers to be scheduled to work 10-hour shifts. Also, the facility is quite large according to the complaint, and employees have to clock in and out of work at a “significant distance” from where they begin their shift. They are not paid for the time it takes them to travel away from the clock-in area to their work station.
The complaint alleges that because of the travel time, employees end up working over 10 hours, but they are not given a third rest break, which is required under California law. Under California law, if an employee works more than 10 hours in a shift, the employer must provide three 10-minute paid rest breaks.
Also, under California law, if an employee has worked eight hours, the employee must be paid overtime for additional hours worked. The third paid ten-minute break should be paid at the overtime wage rate. If a worker works more than 10 hours, a second unpaid 30-minute break must be provided, in addition to the first meal break given. If the employer does not provide an employee with the required rest breaks, the company must pay the employee one additional hour for each day of work in which the employee did not get a rest break.
The lawsuit is waiting to be certified as a class action. If it is approved for class action status, it will attempt to collect damages for all affected non-exempt employees in California. The lawsuit is seeking the loss of wages and overtime. Amazon did not comment on the lawsuit.
This lawsuit not the first to be filed against Amazon over working conditions in its warehouses. Amazon’s warehouses have a reputation as being a grueling environment for workers. In June, a former manager for Amazon who managed several warehouses in the Bay Area, also filed a lawsuit against Amazon for failing to pay overtime wages. The lawsuit says that Amazon improperly classified him as an employee who was exempt from receiving overtime pay. He ultimately was fired after he slipped and cut his eye while he was standing on a conveyor belt to free up a jam.
Under Amazon’s policy, entry-level warehouse workers are eligible for overtime pay. Managers, however, are exempt from receiving overtime pay and instead are salaried under Amazon’s policy. The manager who sued said that when he was hired he was promised that his job would mostly consist of supervisory work. Instead, he says that most of his job was manual labor, and some of it was dangerous.
These lawsuits are becoming more common, and could have a chance of success in California. California is viewed by many as having among the most employee-friendly labor laws in the U.S. Under California law, the burden of proof is on employers to show that workers should not receive overtime pay, which can be done by showing that more than half a manager’s job consisted of managerial duties.
Amazon has a reputation for working its warehouse employees very hard under unpleasant conditions. However, it is far from the only company in California that violates employment laws. If you believe that your employer has broken California employment laws, call Micha Star Liberty, San Francisco employment law attorney at 510-645-1000. She can help. Call today to learn more or to schedule a free consultation on your case.