Flex Drivers Go After Amazon With Arbitration Claims

Flex Drivers Go After Amazon With Arbitration Claims

(USNewsBreak.com) – Amazon offers various ways for people to make money. They can sell items on its marketplace, serve as affiliates, or work for the company directly, either in warehouses around the world or at its headquarters. Amazon also has a Flex program, where drivers work as independent contractors to help deliver packages. However, it appears those workers aren’t happy. More than 15,000 have filed legal claims against the retail giant.

What’s in the Legal Claims?

Two law firms are spearheading the movement against Amazon, where nearly 16,000 Flex drivers have submitted arbitration claims. An additional 453 cases are in litigation.

The Flex drivers allege that Amazon classified them as independent contractors rather than employees. As a result, they say they suffered financial losses, including unpaid wages. The drivers are from Massachusetts, Illinois, and California, where there are strict rules about independent contractors.

If they win the case, they will become eligible to collect back wages and overtime pay for working more than 40 hours. As employees, they could also submit certain expenses, such as vehicle wear and tear, cell phone use, and gas receipts, for reimbursement.

Claimants also said that Amazon doesn’t schedule time for 10-minute rest breaks or 30-minute meal breaks when workers meet the required threshold for such downtime.

Two of the attorneys in the litigation, Steven Tindall and Joseph Sellers, have already successfully fought against Amazon in the past. They took eight cases to trial and won seven, with an average award of $9,000.

In a statement, Amazon spokesperson Brandon Baribeau said that “most of the Amazon Flex delivery partners […] love the flexibility of the program.”

Additionally, Amazon is facing other legal challenges across the country. Legal challenges are coming from Wisconsin drivers, the Teamsters union, and lawmakers, who are asking for more information on Amazon’s relationship with their delivery partners.

What Is the Flex Program?

The Flex driver program allows people to make extra money by making Amazon deliveries. They sign up, and Amazon must approve applicants before they can work. Then, they use a specialized app that lets them know when packages are available for delivery. Flex workers can work at their discretion. While most bill as independent contractors, some states require Amazon to classify Flex workers as employees due to the scope of the work.

Amazon has run the Flex program since 2015. It pays the drivers for a predetermined amount of time based on the number of packages they sign up for and the region where they deliver.

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