Former Amazon worker sues over unpaid time required for Covid-19 screenings

A former Amazon warehouse employee has filed a lawsuit claiming the online retail giant violated Colorado state law by not paying for time taken to get Covid-19 tests.

According to the suit, Amazon required employees to take unpaid time to meet their requirements for having positive Covid-19 tests. The federal lawsuit claims employees have been required since March 2020 to undergo health screenings before they clock in at work. To actually make their punch-in time, employees would have to arrive early to deal with long lines and delays. The process could take anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes to complete. Beyond the pandemic, the suit claims putting in time off the clock is a regular business practice for Amazon, which requires workers to complete tasks before actually clocking in. Colorado law requires employees to be paid whenever they are performing labor or services on their employer’s premises, the complaint says. The filing proposes a class action, which includes more than 10,000 employees from five separate warehouses. 

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“Amazon appears fine making efforts to keep its workers safe, so long as the workers are the ones footing the bill,” David Seligman of nonprofit Towards Justice, which brought the suit on behalf of an employee who worked in two separate warehouses, said in a public statement.“During this time of unprecedented demand for Amazon’s services, the least Amazon could do is pay us for this time spent in COVID screenings, which were necessary to keep their pandemic-fueled supply lines uninterrupted by sick workers,” the employee, Jennifer Vincenzetti, said in the filing. Amazon has faced increased scrutiny over its employee practices since the pandemic began. Many warehouse operatives across the country continued to work through shutdowns and complained about speed quotas and a lack of breaks. Despite protection measures, thousands of Amazon employees ended up getting Covid-19.In a similar suit filed in California, employees also argued they were not paid for time being screened for coronavirus. Amazon has argued in that case that because the screenings benefited employees, they were not compensable under federal law.Like this story? Share it with a friend!

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