What does Amazon have in common with Uber and Lyft? Road rage

Delivery drivers file their own suit over job classification

A smashed delivery box

Amazon is the latest company to be sued by workers who say they are unfairly being excluded from employee benefits.

A class action complaint [PDF] by delivery drivers alleges that Amazon illegally classifies them as contracted workers rather than as employees. In the process, they accuse Amazon of violating minimum wage rules and unfairly forcing drivers to cover their own gas and maintenance costs.

"Amazon has misclassified delivery drivers with whom it has directly contracted as independent contractors when they are actually employees," reads the suit, filed in the Western Washington US District Court for Seattle.

"In so doing, Amazon has violated the federal Fair Labor Standard Act by failing to assure they receive minimum wage, after accounting for necessary business expenses that the drivers must pay such as gas and car maintenance, as well as failing to pay overtime for hours worked in excess of forty per week."

The group consists of drivers in the US who work for Amazon's product delivery service. The suit is also seeking to represent a smaller class of drivers in Washington state and Seattle for violating state and city minimum wage ordinances.

The complaint asks that Amazon be forced to pay out damages including wages owed and driver expenses, as well as legal costs.

The suit is nearly identical to those filed against Lyft and Uber by their drivers, and alleges that the web giant uses the "contractor" designation as a way to keep costs down and avoid having to provide benefits or protections to its worker fleet.

Not coincidentally, the attorney representing the Amazon class, Shannon Liss-Riordan, also led the legal efforts against Uber and Lyft. That case remains ongoing after a US judge rejected a proposed settlement that was said to be too much in Uber's favor. ®

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