Amazon is facing a proposed state-wide class action lawsuit over allegations that the working conditions at its California warehouses are like a “modern day sweat shop”.

Plaintiff Romeo Palma filed the employee class action lawsuit against Golden State FC LLC, the entity that operates several fulfillment centers in California, alleging multiple violations of state labor laws. Specifically, Palma contends Amazon regularly fails to provide its non-exempt employees with a third rest break or pay overtime when they work over 10 hours at the company’s fulfillment center warehouses.

According to the Amazon Warehouse Worker class action lawsuit, Palma and his co-workers are scheduled for 10 hour shifts, but are actually required to work longer, often by 5-15 minutes more without compensation or third rest break – a violation of California labor law. This, reportedly, is directly caused because Amazon requires its non-exempt employees to clock-in at a specific location at their large fulfillment center, and then travel or walk to the location to report for their work shift. Essentially, the lawsuit contends Amazon does not allow adequate time for its fulfillment center workers to clock in and arrive at the location to report for their shift, or clock out after their shift.

Furthermore, Palma alleges that he and similarly situated class members were not given a third rest break, as required by California overtime law, when their shifts exceeded 10 hours.

“We have been learning of sweat-shop like conditions for workers, who work long shifts and have not been able to get the appropriate rest breaks and overtime that is required,” said Joshua Haffner, one of the attorneys representing Palma and the proposed class of workers.

“It’s unfair to the workers who are low paid and working as hard as they can to make ends meet and be good employees,” said Haffner. “Providing the short break required by law isn’t too much to ask.”

The complaint goes onto say Amazon has “caused Plaintiff and Class members damages including, but not limited to, loss of wages and compensation… Failing to pay overtime wages, failing to pay premium wages for missed meal and rest breaks and failing to pay all wages owed on each pay period.”

California labor code provides that “Any work in excess of eight hours in one workday and any work in excess of 40 hours in any one workweek …shall be compensated at the rate of no less that one and one-half times the regular pay rate for an employee”.

“This lawsuit is being filed to vindicate workers’ rights under California law,” said Haffner in an email. “The defendant is pushing the labor laws right up to and past the line, requiring employees to work long hours, yet short-changing them on rest breaks and associated overtime. These are workers who make just above minimum wage and are entitled to these very simple requirements, such as a third rest break.”

Amazon is no stranger to allegations of labor law violations at its warehouses. A complaint filed in Kentucky federal court accusing the company of failing to pay workers for time spent going through security checks was dismissed in June. Amazon has also been accused of misclassifying its delivery drivers as independent contractors in another recently filed complaint in San Diego Superior Court.

Palma is seeking to represent a class comprised of all current and former California residents who worked for Amazon as non-exempt employees at any time beginning 2013 to present. He is requesting among other things, one hour of wages due to each Class member for each missed and/or uncompensated rest period, all unpaid overtime wages, as well as an order enjoining Amazon from further “unfair and unlawful business practices.”

Palma and the proposed class are represented by Joshua H. Haffner and Abraham G. Lambert of Haffner Law PC and Jimmy Hanaie of Legalclear.

The California Amazon Warehouse Worker Class Action Lawsuit is Romeo Palma et al v. Golden State FC, LLC dba et al, filed in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Sacramento. A case number was not available at the time of publish.


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