Immediacy is everything for consumers in today’s package delivery business. Consumers expect items they order to arrive right after hitting “request” or “purchase” on their smartphones, tablets, or laptops. Companies like Amazon boost their profits by meeting these feverish demands, leaving untrained drivers, like yourself perhaps, driving frantically around town looking to earn extra income. The result has been a lot of damage – from a complete disregard of workers’ rights to hazardous and dangerous road conditions– in the wake of this intensified “Last Mile” service.
Carter Law Firm understands that people like yourself often take these delivery roles while in between jobs, or as an extra job to help make ends meet. But there is a lurking danger, and the company that you believe you are working for might not be liable if something goes wrong. They might not protect you in the event of a mishap. Buzzfeed recently covered this very situation with Amazon drivers. The episodes they reveal are shocking, and we know that the scenarios portrayed in the article are likely just the tip of the iceberg.
Here is how it works. Amazon works with a variety of vendors (small companies with a fleet of a few trucks) that help fulfill orders. These are typically fly by night operations that do not train drivers, cut corners with respect to labor requirements like providing breaks and paying overtime, and impose illegal and impossible delivery workloads and times in order to curry favor with their business partner, Amazon. Their drivers are conned into believing they are “working” for Amazon because they are often delivering up to 250 Amazon packages per day in a truck that says “Amazon” on it. In reality these drivers are acting in their capacity as employees of the individual vendors. This releases Amazon from a great deal of potential liability when things go wrong, often leaving the diver with little recourse – because the “employer” is just a sham company with no assets or face.
Let’s take a closer look. Let’s assume you spend 8 hours a day delivering packages for Amazon. You must meet absurd delivery quotas that originate from Amazon and are passed through your “employer”. Through Amazon’s manipulation of the system, you are actually not an Amazon employee. When something goes wrong, they don’t know you. Why is that? Buzzfeed has determined that Amazon has used as many as 250 different vendors to deliver packages and has managed to have them on the hook when something goes wrong, whether it be a crash due to an overextended driver rushing to meet absurd quotas and delivery schedules, or a claim for unpaid wages or missed breaks by a driver.
This graph from the article was jaw-dropping: “Public records document hundreds of road wrecks involving vehicles delivering Amazon packages in the past five years, with Amazon itself named as a defendant in at least 100 lawsuits filed in the wake of accidents, including at least six fatalities and numerous serious injuries. This is almost certainly a vast undercount, as many accidents involving vehicles carrying Amazon packages are not reported in a way that can link them to the company. And in some states, including California, accident reports are not public.” How are these accidents happening? Mostly due to careless driving and cutting corners because of fear of not meeting expectations set forth by Amazon.
The above scene only centers on driving. It doesn’t focus on the other issues drivers face, including assault, dog attacks, carjacking, robberies, and other violent crimes.
These workers also report not being paid properly, not collecting overtime that they should have earned, and in addition to the unpaid wages, some former drivers have filed several lawsuits that state that they did not get proper rest and meal breaks.
Are you a contractor for Amazon, or are you in the same situation with your big company and think they are too big to fight? Carter Law Firm has sued and recovered damages in the millions against the country’s biggest brands. If you feel you have experienced this, please contact us.