Examining the Trend of Delivery Driver Overtime Lawsuits

Delivery drivers across the country have been filing lawsuits in recent years demanding they have been cheated out of overtime and other benefits. As our L.A. overtime lawyers know, delivery service drivers are too frequently victims of wage theft. This can come in numerous forms, including:

  • Not being paid their full, earned wages.
  • Not properly reimbursed for car expenses when they own the vehicle they drive.
  • Improperly categorized as a contractor when they are an employee. L.A. overtime lawyer

Sometimes workers in this industry are paid daily rates for a certain number of hours when in reality, their work takes longer than the hours they’ve formally logged.

Subcontractor Drivers and Overtime Violations

In a recent case pending in a federal court in Seattle, a delivery driver for Amazon.com Inc. alleges the company should be responsible for overtime violations and considered his employer – even though he was technically hired by a subcontractor.

In Edmonds v. Amazon.com, Inc., a U.S. District Court judge, in denying Amazon’s motion to dismiss the case, ruled plaintiff presented sufficient evidence to assert the e-commerce giant was his direct and joint employer, that he worked more than 40 hours weekly and that he didn’t receive the overtime pay he was owed.

According to court records, the driver worked between 10 and 15 hours daily between 4 and 5 days weekly, but was paid a flat rate. He said he routinely worked more than 40 and sometimes 50 hours weekly, but neither the subcontractor nor Amazon paid him overtime.

In asserting that Amazon was a joint employer, plaintiff indicated the company dictated and directly managed his employment by requiring all drivers to undergo an Amazon background check, participating in hiring decisions and training, requiring clothing branded with their company logo, dictating the type of clothes workers wore, monitoring pre- and post-trip inspections, controlling the way delivery problems were handled, tracking delivery performance, evaluating driver performance, disciplining drivers and firing them. He further noted that the subcontractor relied on Amazon to make their regularly-scheduled payroll and delivery drivers performed a core business objective of the company. In essence, he asserted, the contractor was “little more than an administrator or employee leasing company” to the larger firm.

The court considered numerous factors, and all weighed in favor of joint employment, which would make Amazon also accountable for delivery driver overtime pay if the plaintiff prevails.

Last year, a Texas company that contracts with Amazon was ordered by the U.S. Department of Labor to pay $154,000 in back wages to nearly 300 delivery drivers to resolve a series of overtime pay violations. Those drivers, too, were paid a flat rate, regardless of how many hours they actually worked – a violation of the U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act.

Bakery Delivery Drivers Sue for Overtime

A bakery company headquartered in Pennsylvania is facing numerous wage and hour overtime lawsuits filed by delivery drivers in numerous states who say they were wrongly classified as independent contractors, as opposed to employees. Because of this misclassification, the drivers say they were routinely denied overtime pay of 150 percent the regular rate for any weekly hours worked over 40.

The plaintiff drivers say they aren’t engaged in independent businesses. Rather, they worked exclusively for the defendant and were required to form independent corporations and distribution rights for the sole purpose of working for the defendant – which prohibits them from performing any similar delivery work for other companies. As our L.A. overtime lawyers can explain, that last fact alone, if proven, is likely to weigh heavily in the plaintiffs’ favor.

In California, the “ABC Test” to determine a worker classification was adopted as Labor Code section 2750.3 earlier this year after the passage of AB5.

If you think you may have been wrongly denied overtime pay in Los Angeles, the California Department of Industrial Relations breaks down our state’s overtime laws. You can also contact our L.A. overtime lawyers for a free consultation.

Contact the employment attorneys at Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Orange County, Riverside and Los Angeles. Call 714-937-2020.

Additional Resources:

Edmonds v. Amazon.com, Inc., April 15, 2020, U.S. District Court, W.D., Washington, Seattle

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