Amazon worker claims breaks, overtime pay denied at Sacramento center, files lawsuit
A local man filed a legal complaint earlier this week claiming workers scheduled to work 10 hours or more at the Amazon shipping center in Sacramento are denied a third rest break, overtime pay and time to travel to and from the clock-in location.
The complaint is waiting to be certified by a judge in Sacramento Superior County Court for class-action status. Joshua Haffner, a Los Angeles-based lawyer, filed the complaint on behalf of Romeo Palma, who is from Citrus Heights. The lawsuit names the defendants as Amazon and Golden State FC, LLC-- a joint venture which runs fulfillment centers in Sacramento, the Central Valley and San Bernardino.
The suit alleges Palma and other non-exempt employees at the Sacramento fulfillment center are regularly scheduled to work 10-hour shifts or longer. Employees are required to clock-in and out for work at a "significant distance" from where they begin their shift and are not compensated for the time it takes to travel from the clock-in area, to and from their work space location, according to the complaint.
Due to the extra travel time, the Amazon employees end up working longer than 10 hours by 5 to 10 minutes or more, but are not given a third rest break as required by California law. Under state law, employers are required to provide workers on shift for more than 10 hours with three 10-minute paid rest breaks.
The law also mandates time-and-a-half overtime pay after an employee has worked eights hours. The third paid ten-minute break should meet the overtime wage rate, which the complaint alleges Amazon fails to do.
If a worker exceeds 10 hours, a second unpaid 30-minute meal break must be provided no later than at the start of the eleventh hour, in addition to the first meal break given after working more than five hours.
If an employer fails to provide a worker with the rest breaks required by California law, the company is required to pay the employee one additional hour for each workday the person was denied a rest period.
The lawsuit says, Amazon is liable for loss of wages and compensation for "failing to pay overtime wages, failing to premium wages for missed rest breaks, failing to pay overtime, failing to pay all wages owed on each pay period, failure to provide timely and accurate wages statements and unfair competition."
ABC10 reached out for comment from Amazon and received this statement:
"We follow all state and federal employment regulations, but we have a longstanding practice of not commenting on pending litigation."
If approved for class-action status, the lawsuit aims to collect damages for all affected non-exempt employees in California, according to Haffner.
For more information on state labor laws visit the Labor Commissioner's Office.