Two employees of Jungle Trux have sued the contracting firm and Amazon, claiming because the online retailer determined how they worked, the company should be considered a joint employer.
A pair of drivers who delivered Amazon packages have sued the retail giant and their employer, contracting firm Jungle Trux, seeking compensation for failing to provide breaks, undercounting their hours and missing overtime payments.
The lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, claims that Amazon jointly employed the men because the Seattle company exerted a great deal of control over their work.
In addition to making use of logistics giants like FedEx and UPS, Amazon uses local delivery companies like Jungle Trux to take packages from its warehouses to customers’ doorsteps in many cities.
Amazon, the complaint says, instructed the drivers “what packages to deliver, on what days to deliver those packages and in what order to deliver those packages.” Their work required the drivers to wear Amazon uniforms and use Amazon hardware to record work time and manage deliveries, the complaint says.
Gus Ortiz and Mark Fredley, both Washington residents, say they weren’t provided with required paid rest or meal breaks, according to their complaint filed Wednesday in King County Superior Court.
The men were required to deliver 150 to 200 packages a day, the complaint says, and neither Jungle Trux nor Amazon offered a system to relieve them for legally required breaks during busy periods.
The men were, until recently, required to pick up their delivery truck at the Jungle Trux depot and drive to an Amazon warehouse before clocking in for the day, the complaint says.
“These drivers are being put through their paces day in and day out, and you have to ask yourselves why they are being pressured to deliver so much in such a short period of time,” said Toby Marshall, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs. “We ultimately think that Amazon is responsible. It’s just trying to squeeze labor out of delivery drivers.”
An Amazon spokeswoman and a lawyer representing Jungle Trux didn’t immediately comment.
It’s unclear where Jungle Trux is based; the company’s registered office with the state of Washington appears to be a residence in La Center, Clark County. Online job boards show the company listing two openings for “Amazon Delivery Driver” in Seattle and one in Portland.
The lawsuit seeks to represent all drivers in Washington state who worked for companies that delivered packages on behalf of Amazon or its Amazon Logistics subsidiary during the last three years.
That program is separate from Amazon Flex, an on-demand employment service in which individual drivers can opt in to specific delivery shifts while driving their own vehicle. That program is also facing legal challenges; last year three Amazon Flex drivers sued the company in federal court, saying they should be considered employees, not contractors.