Business & Real Estate

Amazon workers sue, claiming denied overtime pay, rest breaks

Watch robots move packages at Amazon’s Sacramento facility

The robots allow the 855,000 square-foot center at Metro Air Park to store 50 percent more goods and ship goods faster than a facility without robots. The facility opened August 2017.
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The robots allow the 855,000 square-foot center at Metro Air Park to store 50 percent more goods and ship goods faster than a facility without robots. The facility opened August 2017.

Workers at Amazon.com’s California distribution centers, including the recently opened Sacramento fulfillment center at Metro Air Park, have filed a class-action complaint that contends they have been denied rest breaks, overtime pay and appropriate payment of wages.

The complaint, filed Monday in Sacramento County Superior Court names Amazon and Golden State FC LLC, a Palm Springs firm identified as the company that runs Amazon facilities in the state, as defendants.

The primary plaintiff in the filing is identified as Romeo Palma, a Sacramento resident who works at Amazon’s fulfillment center near Sacramento International Airport. The complaint says Palma “is assisting with packaging and fulfillment of internet merchandise orders for shipment.”

In a phone interview Thursday, Los Angeles attorney Joshua Haffner, representing the workers, said the suit covers “all” Amazon facilities in California, including various satellite facilities besides the typically sprawling fulfillment centers.

“Amazon should pay its non-exempt workers according to law,” he said. “They’re working long shifts. They should get rest breaks and be paid overtime.”

Haffner said “thousands” of Amazon workers are part of the complaint, which asks the court to maintain it as a class-action suit.

Amazon released this statement: “We follow all state and federal employment regulations, but we have a long-standing practice of not commenting on pending litigation.”

Seattle-based Amazon formally launched its 855,000-square-foot Sacramento fulfillment center Oct. 25. The site is designed to sort, pack and ship comparatively small customer items such as books, electronics and toys. It’s expected to ultimately employ about 1,500.

The local facility and other Amazon centers statewide currently are staffed to handle the holiday season shopping rush, when millions of customer orders and deliveries will be handled between now and Christmas Day.

Amazon also operates extensive distribution centers in other California communities, including Patterson and San Bernardino.

The complaint contends that Palma and other Amazon employees regularly work more than 10 hours at a time, “without (Amazon) providing or compensating for a third rest break at the overtime rate, as required by California law.”

The filing mentions specific times when Palma allegedly was denied a required rest break, and accompanying overtime pay, including Nov. 18-19.

The complaint also cites what it calls Amazon’s “general practice” of requiring workers to clock-in at a specific site at the large fulfillment centers, then travel/walk to their work shift site, adding yet more uncompensated time to long shifts.

The complaint seeks payment of unpaid wages, restitution and statutory penalties.

Mark Glover: 916-321-1184, @markhglover

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