The tens of thousands of packages that appear on the porches of Amazon Prime members every single day don’t arrive there by magic. Amazon dispatches a massive army of delivery drivers each morning to meet their promise of two-day shipping or same-day delivery. With over five billion Amazon packages delivered in 2017, and even more since, those drivers put in long hours and are under immense pressure to transport all those packages to their destinations on time.
But many of those drivers allege they are not being paid for all their hard work and face other oppressive and possibly illegal working conditions. Those are the allegations in several class-action lawsuit recently filed against Amazon and its Delivery Service Partners (DSP) – the companies it contracts with to deliver a large percentage of orders.
Amazon’s Grip on DSPs and Their Drivers Incentivizes Wage Theft
Over 200 drivers employed by a DSP based in Maryland claim they were not paid overtime as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and were forced to work without meal or bathroom breaks, including several who allege that the pressure on them was so immense they had to urinate in a bottle or on the side of a road so they could make all of their deliveries.
The FLSA imposes minimum wage, overtime pay, and other requirements on almost all American employers, and provides that non-exempt employees such as delivery drivers must receive one and a half times their regular wage for all hours worked over 40 in any given workweek.
While Amazon uses its own delivery trucks, FedEx, UPS, and the U.S. Postal Service to make many of its deliveries, it relies on a growing network of DSPs to keep up with the ever-increasing demand. These DSPs are separate companies that employ their own drivers and are responsible for payroll and benefits, complying with wage and hour laws, paying taxes, and establishing employment policies.
But it is alleged that Amazon exerts extensive control over how DSPs operate and over almost every other aspect of their drivers’ jobs. A comprehensive report by Business Insider magazine detailed how Amazon’s policies incentivized DSPs to deny drivers overtime pay and cut other corners to satisfy Amazon’s performance requirements. One former Amazon logistics manager quoted in the Business Insider article said: “We create this pressure cooker. We are really turning the knobs on DSPs, and they are turning the knobs on drivers. And then at the end of the day we can take our hands off of it and say, ‘Well, they are your employees.'”
Holding Amazon Responsible for Wage and Hour Violations Against DSP Drivers
That excuse – that the drivers are employees of DSPs and therefore any wage and hour violations are not Amazon’s responsibility – is being challenged in several pending lawsuits filed by DSP drivers.
In these suits, drivers assert that Amazon’s extensive control over DSPs and their operations and employees makes Amazon a joint employer that can be held liable for wage, hour, and other labor law violations. That is why over the past three years, Amazon has been named as a defendant in at least six lawsuits against seven Amazon DSPs in Pennsylvania, Illinois, California, Arizona, and Washington.
Amazon Delivery Drivers: Call Today for a Free Consultation About Your Possible Claim for Compensation.
We are investigating delivery drivers’ allegations of unpaid wages. If you are or were employed as a delivery driver for an Amazon DSP and believe that you are owed overtime wages or were otherwise the victim of wage theft or other labor law violations, you may have a claim for compensation. Speaking with an experienced wage and overtime pay attorney is the best way to understand your rights. Together, we can ensure that you receive every dollar you deserve for every hour you work.