San Francisco: A former Amazon worker has sued the e-commerce giant in the US for not scheduling the mandatory 30-minute meal breaks for employees.
Lovenia Scott, a former employee of Amazon’s fulfilment centre in Vacaville, California, alleged that the company didn’t provide enough rest breaks for workers, The Verge reported on Saturday.
“When they did get their meal breaks, workers were expected to monitor their walkie-talkies in case of any problems on the floor, which sometimes cut into their break time,” the lawsuit claimed.
First filed in San Francisco County Superior Court in February, the case has now been moved to US District Court California, Northern District.
The lawsuit also alleged that shifts were “chronically understaffed,” which left some employees unable to take short 10-minute rest breaks in order to finish their work on time.
Amazon was yet to comment on the report.
Earlier this month, Amazon and an independent contractor it worked with in California were fined $6.4 million for wage theft by the Labor Commission’s Office.
The probe found that “Green Messengers, the subcontractor for Amazon, underpaid drivers, scheduling them 10-hour days but with a workload that forced drivers to skip meal and rest breaks”.
Last week, amid a mounting evidence of allegedly ill-treating its low-paid workers, Amazon denied exploitative working conditions at its facilities, including forcing exhausted workers to ‘pee in bottles’.
Replying to a tweet from US Representative Mark Pocan (D-WI), the e-commerce behemoth said that the company’s union-busting tactics allegations are baseless.
“Paying workers $15/hr doesn’t make you a ‘progressive workplace’ when you union-bust & make workers urinate in water bottles,” Pocan said in a tweet.
Amazon replied: “You don’t really believe the peeing in bottles thing, do you? If that were true, nobody would work for us. The truth is that we have over a million incredible employees around the world who are proud of what they do, and have great wages and health care from day one”.
“We hope you can enact policies that get other employers to offer what we already do,” the company further stated.
Once the Twitter war started, several journalists and people who have documented such incidents at Amazon facilities began flooding the Web.
Journalist James Bloodworth, whose 2018 book titled ‘Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain,’ documented his experience of low-paid work for companies including Amazon.