Amazon is the latest tech company to be sued in a proposed class action by drivers delivering its products – in this case, goods to be delivered within two hours of being ordered through Amazon’s “Prime Now” app. The drivers claim that they have been classified by Amazon and the companies providing services to Amazon as independent contractors and should instead be treated as employees and paid for an array of labor and employment benefits that independent contractors (who are paid on a 1099 basis) are not eligible to receive – unless they have been misclassified….
The Allegations in the Complaint
The 24-page complaint was filed yesterday, October 27, 2015, in Los Angeles County Superior Court against Amazon.com, Inc., Scoobeez Inc., and ABT Holdings, Inc. The complaint alleges in part that the four named plaintiffs and others similarly situated to them were hired by Scoobeez, a courier company operated by ABT Holdings, to work exclusively for Amazon.com’s Prime Now two-hour delivery service in Orange County, California. The plaintiffs allege that they deliver tens of thousands of items to Amazon’s Prime Now customers based on orders placed on Amazon’s Prime Now mobile app, which is aimed at what is referred to as the “instant gratification market.”
Plaintiffs allege that the app suggests a $5.00 tip for drivers (which they claim they have not received in whole or in part); that the drivers receive multiple days of training in making Amazon Prime Now deliveries; that they are scheduled to work fixed shifts, arrive at a designated warehouse ahead of the shift time and check in with a dispatcher; that they are sent home if there is not enough work for them; that they cannot reject work assignments or request particular geographical areas; that they must follow specific rules or instructions and are subject to discipline or termination if they do not; that they are required to deliver packages in a set sequence determined by the defendants; that the Prime Now app generates routes and directions; that they cannot deliver packages either two minutes too early or too late; that they are required to ask customers to fill out customer surveys; that the rates are unilaterally determined by the defendants, who reserve the right to change the compensation terms at any time; and that the delivery drivers are required to use their own vehicles and pay for their own vehicle and transportation expenses. Truong v. Amazon.com, Inc., No. BC598993 (Cal. Sup. Ct. Los Angeles County, Oct. 27, 2015).