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Amazon sued after delivery drivers allege horrific working conditions, despite company's 'progressive' claims

By Elizabeth Delaney
|
May 30, 2023

Those quick deliveries that Amazon drivers make to many customers who enjoy using those services involve working conditions that many Amazon drivers claim are "inhumane."

Amazon employees are claiming that company performance metrics are figured in such a way that they are forced to skip their breaks and even urinate into a bottle and defecate into a dog waste bag in order to meet the company's performance metrics. One of the workers claiming this is even an Iraq war veteran, according to Daily Mail.

Three Amazon Workers File a Class Action Lawsuit

Three Amazon workers came forward on May 22nd and filed a class action lawsuit against Amazon in Denver, Colorado. The suit claims Amazon workers are being forced to work in "inhumane" working conditions that force them to relieve themselves inside delivery vans because of unrealistic company performance metrics.

The three workers claimed that if they veered from their route to find and use a public restroom, that they would face disciplinary actions from their supervisors that reflected negatively on their work record and could even lead to them losing their job.

Drivers Leah Cross, Marco Granger-Rivera, and Ryan Shilling say they took "extreme measures" to keep up with the performance metrics involving the pace of their deliveries, "work quotas," and "elaborate tracking," and would bring empty water bottles and dog waste bags to work, according to Forbes.

They stashed these items in their delivery trucks during their shifts so that they could take care of their bodily needs.

In some cases, "delivery workers often restrained themselves of using the restroom at risk of serious health consequences," a 16-page document outlining working conditions stated.

The employees said that Amazon trash cans at the fulfillment centers are "frequently overflowing" with bottles of urine that employees have thrown away. The fulfillment centers are where drivers begin and end their delivery routes.

Class Action Lawsuit Involves Multiple Work Place Violations

Colorado law states that employees may not be forced to work through their breaks, and that they must be compensated for missed breaks. The lawsuit states that drivers were forced to skip breaks and were not compensated for doing so.

The lawsuit also claims that discrimination laws are being violated because such work conditions have a "disparate impact" on women. Cross stated that her "typical female anatomy" really requires that she must have access to a bathroom rather than attempt to urinate in a bottle.

She said she has been chastised by management for veering off of her delivery route to find a bathroom.

As a class action lawsuit, these three drivers have agreed to represent a larger group of drivers who have been subject to the same conditions.

Iraq War Vet Claims Conditions Remind Him of How He Had to Get by in Armed Forces

Ryan Schilling is an Iraq war veteran who served for eight years. During that time, he worked in combat zones.

After completing his time with the Army, he decided to work as an Amazon driver. On his busiest days, he was expected to make over 200 stops per day, delivering about 500 packages to the doorsteps of customers, he told CPR News.

Schilling stated that he typically didn't have enough time during his shift to use the restroom or take his state-mandated 10-minute break every four hours.

Shilling also said he frequently skipped lunch to keep up with Amazon's performance metrics.

"The speed you have to complete your route on time is, for most people, inhuman," 28-year-old Shilling said.

He said the unrealistic working conditions, especially being forced to urinate in a bottle and defecate in a dog waste bag, reminded him of how he had to get by while in the armed forces.

"We're not in a combat zone. There's no reason I should be having to do the same things in a regular place of employment in the United States," Shilling said.