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Amazon Drivers Sue Over Inhumane Working Conditions

June 1, 2023 | By Kali Girl

According to the New York Post, last week, three Amazon delivery drivers in Colorado filed a lawsuit against the e-commerce giant, claiming that the company’s intense surveillance measures left them with no choice but to forgo bathroom breaks or face disciplinary action.

According to the 16-page complaint filed in Denver District Court on May 22, the drivers, including an Iraq War veteran, alleged that they were compelled to resort to urinating in bottles and even defecating in dog waste bags stored in their delivery trucks. These actions were in direct violation of Colorado labor laws.

“This case is about one of the wealthiest and most powerful companies in the world, Amazon, maintaining work policies that require its delivery drivers…to restrain themselves from using the bathroom at risk of serious health consequences,” the complaint states.

“Amazon operates this scheme through harsh work quotas and elaborate tracking and workplace surveillance technology that make it impossible for Amazon delivery drivers to fulfill basic human needs while on the job.”

“I fought for this country in Iraq, but I had an easier time going to the bathroom in a combat zone than I did while working for Amazon,” driver Ryan Schilling said.

The complaint claims that trash cans in Amazon fulfillment centers “are frequently overflowing with bottles full of urine that drivers have thrown away at the end of their shifts.

According to Colorado law, employers must provide paid rest breaks to their employees every four hours of work. The workers expressed fear even when it came to taking bathroom breaks, unless it was strictly for urination.

“Twice I’ve had to defecate so badly that I’ve had to use dog waste bags in the back of delivery vans,” Schilling said. “I knew that if I tried to stop to go to a gas station, I’d get yelled at and maybe lose my job. What choice do Amazon drivers have?”

Two female drivers suing Amazon claim the company’s inadequate working conditions disproportionately discriminate against women, making it more difficult for them to take necessary breaks.

“As a woman, I can’t just easily pee in a bottle,” plaintiff Leah Cross said. “When I worked for Amazon, I had to bring a change of clothes in case I peed my pants while trying to hit Amazon’s delivery metrics. I was told I couldn’t even stop to pick up some sanitary products. With this lawsuit, I’m fighting for Amazon to treat humans like humans.”

Amazon has yet to respond to inquiries regarding the accusations. However, a representative from the company informed 9NEWS that they promote the provision of bathroom breaks to delivery partners as a means of supporting drivers.

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