Amazon fires employee for complaining over company’s over-time working hours

Hyderabad: A well-known Right to Information (RTI) act activist from the city has alleged that Amazon Development Center, headquartered in Hyderabad, fired him for lodging complaints against the company’s labor laws and overtime working hours. Vijay Gopal (31), founder of the Forum Against Corruption (GAC),  was vocal about the issue since 2018.

Vijay, an L5 operations manager with the company, received a termination letter from the company on November 27, in which the company stated: “Amazon invokes clause 12.1 of the Contract and hereby terminates your employment with Amazon with immediate effect, i.e. close of working hours of 27th November 2020.” He was paid a month’s salary in lieu of one month’s notice.

However, the company did not mention a specific reason for Vijay’s termination.

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In his complaint to the Telangana state’s department of labor in July 2019, Vijay wrote that he found the company violating the laws/provision of the Shops & Establishments Act, 1988.  The hearing of the complaint was taken up on October 22.

Vijay has alleged that all employees working for more than 48 hours were not being paid overtime irrespective of the designation. He wrote, “Per day an employee works nine hours (including a one-hour break/lunch), i.e. 45 hours a week. However, at the time of employment, it shows 40 hours a week. Employees are being asked to work overtime for more than 15 hours a week (up to 20 hours) claiming that they have permission from the government.”

However, the company’s legal team said that their calculation is right and that they were well within the guidelines of the law by excluding the break hours from the weekly hours worked while calculating over-time. The department of labor, on the other hand, says that the weekly working hours include the break.

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Even when the company tried to justify its over-time policy that they have obtained permission, Vijay’s Right to Information (RTI) response from the department confirmed that they have not provided any exception to anyone to have their employees work overtime for more than the legally allowed 6 hours a week above 48 hours and 24 hours per annum. Siasat.com had reached out to Amazon, and this report will be updated as and when the compay responds. 

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