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Colorado Amazon drivers sue over poor working conditions

Three Amazon delivery drivers in Colorado sued a major e-commerce company last week, accusing the company of very strict surveillance and risking disciplinary action if they don’t skip bathroom breaks.

According to a 16-page complaint filed in Denver District Court, workers were forced to urinate in bottles and into dog waste bags stored inside delivery trucks in violation of Colorado labor law. He claims that he was even forced to defecate. program on May 22nd.

“The lawsuit alleges that Amazon, one of the richest and most powerful companies in the world, maintains a work policy that requires delivery drivers to refrain from using the restroom as it poses a serious health risk. ,” the complaint states.

“Amazon operates this program through demanding labor quotas and sophisticated tracking and workplace monitoring technology, making it impossible for Amazon’s delivery drivers to meet basic human needs while on the job.”


Workers said they were made to urinate in bottles or defecate in dog waste bags kept inside delivery trucks.
Gad (via Getty Images)

Colorado law requires employers to allow all employees to take paid breaks after every four hours of work, and the three drivers were denied those breaks by Amazon’s “work pace policy.” Claimed it wasn’t approved.

“I fought for this country in Iraq, and in combat zones it was easier to go to the bathroom than when I was working in the Amazon,” said driver Ryan Shilling.

The complaint alleges that bins at Amazon’s fulfillment centers “frequently overflow with bottles of urine discarded by drivers at the end of their shift.”


Amazon's fulfillment centers are overflowing with urine bottles that drivers throw away at the end of the shift, according to the complaint.
Amazon’s fulfillment centers are overflowing with urine bottles that drivers throw away at the end of the shift, according to the complaint.
Corbis, via Getty Images

According to the lawsuit, workers were afraid to even take a restroom break if they had to do anything other than urinate.

“Twice I had to defecate so badly that I had to use a dog waste bag in the back of the delivery van,” Schilling said. “I knew that if I stopped my car to go to the gas station, I would get yelled at and lose my job. What options do Amazon drivers have?”

Two of the drivers suing Amazon are women, and they also say the company’s poor working conditions discriminate against women who can’t easily defecate.


Colorado law requires employers to allow all staff to take paid breaks after every four hours of work.
Colorado law requires employers to allow all staff to take paid breaks after every four hours of work.
NurPhoto (via Getty Images)

“As a woman, I can’t just pee in a bottle,” plaintiff Leah Cross said. “When I worked at Amazon, I had to bring a change of clothes in case I peeed in my pants while trying to meet Amazon’s delivery metrics. I would stop to buy sanitary products. In this lawsuit, I am fighting for Amazon to treat humans as humans.”

The e-com giant contracts with “delivery service partners” (DSPs) that employ drivers, but the drivers claim in the lawsuit that the DSPs are “independent in name only.”

Plaintiffs argued that partners “must acquiesce to Amazon’s control over virtually every aspect of their business.”


Amazon employees said they were afraid to take bathroom breaks, according to the lawsuit.
Amazon employees said they were afraid to take bathroom breaks, according to the lawsuit.
Denver Post via Getty Images

Amazon has repeatedly faced similar accusations from drivers and warehouse workers over the years.

In 2021, he initially denied the “pee bottle” claim, but was criticized for spewing out examples that journalists had witnessed first-hand.

Shortly after the backlash, the company admitted that drivers “could struggle to find toilets, and are in real trouble”, due to local routes and toilet closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I claimed it was my fault.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the allegations, but a company spokeswoman said: told 9NEWS They are encouraging their delivery partners to support their drivers by giving them restroom breaks.

“We want to make it clear that we encourage our delivery service partners to support their drivers,” Sam Stevenson said in a statement to the magazine. “This includes giving drivers the time they need to rest between stops, providing a list of nearby toilet facilities and gas stations within the Amazon Delivery app, and giving them time to use the restroom or take longer breaks. It involves planning routes.”

The three promoters are represented by Towards Justice, Terrell Marshall Law Group LLC, and Public Justice.

They are suing for damages and to change Amazon’s policy to “give drivers the dignity to be able to meet basic human needs.”

“In 2023, it is morally abhorrent that people working for one of the richest and most powerful companies in the history of the world will have to bring a change of clothes to work in case they pee.” Executive Director for Justice David Seligman said. in a statement.

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