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Amazon back in the news for allegedly violating labor laws

In an Aug. 25 blog post, we discussed a scathing New York Times article that detailed the allegedly abusive and discriminatory culture at Amazon. More recently the company has been named in a lawsuit which was filed by four of Amazon's Prime Now service drivers who accuse the online retailer and one of its contract companies of wage theft.

Officially launched a few months ago, Amazon's Prime Now service promises to deliver goods purchased via the company's website to customers within one or two hours. The items purchased are then delivered to the homes or businesses of customers via delivery drivers. These drivers, however, are not Amazon employees, but rather independent contractors who are hired by a company called Scoobeez which has a contract with Amazon.

According to the lawsuit, the four Amazon Prime Now delivery drivers contend that their contractor employee, Scoobeez, incorrectly classified them as independent contractors when they should be considered employees. The drivers are paid an hourly wage and required to use their own vehicles and pay for any fuel or maintenance costs. Given these added costs, the plaintiffs contend that they only make roughly seven dollars per hour which is below California's current minimum hourly wage of nine dollars. In addition to the wage and hour dispute, the plaintiffs assert that Amazon is guilty of breach of contract as they never, per their contract agreement, received any tips for their delivery services.

This most-recent lawsuit against Amazon is just one of many that are being filed by workers who claim they are being misclassified as independent contractors and taken advantage of by employers. We'll continue to provide updates about this case as it progresses through the courts.

Source: Huffington Post, "Amazon Prime Now Drivers Claim They Were Paid Below Minimum Wage," Dave Jamieson, Oct. 28, 2015

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