Four drivers for Amazon.com's Prime Now service filed a proposed class-action lawsuit against the company on Tuesday, claiming the online retailer wrongly classified them as independent contractors and owes unpaid overtime.
Amazon launched Prime Now, its one- and two-hour delivery service, in New York last year and has steadily expanded into other cities. The online retailer is increasingly experimenting with new modes of delivery after years of relying on companies like FedEx.
In a lawsuit filed in a California state court, the four drivers say they were hired by a separate courier contractor but work exclusively for Amazon. They wear Amazon Prime Now uniforms, work regular shifts and receive work assignments from Amazon, according to a copy of the lawsuit provided by the plaintiffs. That makes the California drivers employees, the lawsuit said, entitled to overtime, meal breaks and other expenses.
Hundreds of delivery drivers are employed by the courier as contractors out of Amazon's Southern California warehouses, the lawsuit said, and the company recently expanded to San Francisco.
Amazon representatives could not immediately be reached for comment.
Earlier this year FedEx agreed to pay $227 million to resolve a similar lawsuit in which California drivers alleged they had been misclassified as contractors. The attorney who litigated that case on behalf of FedEx drivers also filed the Tuesday lawsuit involving Amazon Prime Now.
The lawsuit filed in Superior Court for the State of California, County of Los Angeles is Taree Truong et al. vs. Amazon.com Inc et al.