DENVER (KDVR) — Three delivery drivers in Colorado filed a class action complaint against Amazon on Monday, citing violations of labor laws and discriminatory practices in not providing bathroom breaks.
The complaint alleges that delivery drivers are forced to urinate and defecate in bags and bottles in the back of delivery vans, “all so Amazon can maintain its breakneck delivery schedules and record-breaking profits,” according to a release from Towards Justice law firm.
“I fought for this country in Iraq, but I had an easier time going to the bathroom in a combat zone than I did while working for Amazon,” Ryan Schilling, a plaintiff in the lawsuit, said in a release from the law firm.
According to the lawsuit, he has had to use dog waste bags in the back of delivery vans to defecate on the job twice.
“I knew that if I tried to stop to go to a gas station, I’d get yelled at and maybe lose my job,” Schilling said.
The violation of Colorado’s labor laws creates an “illegal disparate impact on people with typically female anatomy,” according Towards Justice.
“When I worked for Amazon, I had to bring a change of clothes in case I peed my pants while trying to hit Amazon’s delivery metrics,” plaintiff Leah Cross said in Towards Justice’s release. “I was told I couldn’t even stop to pick up some sanitary products.”
The drivers are seeking damages and policy changes at Amazon on behalf of themselves as well as current and former Amazon delivery drivers that worked in Colorado.
The drivers claim that Amazon keeps control over the drivers with surveillance technology that monitors the workers’ location at all times and tracks the duration of each stop, as well as monitors their eye movements within the vehicles, making it virtually impossible for them to pause work without some kind of discipline.
“It’s a moral abomination that in 2023, people working at one of the wealthiest and most powerful companies in the history of the world have to bring a change of clothes to work in case they pee themselves,” David Seligman, executive director of Towards Justice, said in a release announcing the lawsuit.
The complaint also said that trash cans in Amazon fulfillment centers are overflowing with bottles of urine that drivers have thrown away after a shift, and states that the working conditions are “human harms,” and are a direct result of Amazon’s pace-of-work policies.
In an emailed statement to FOX31, Amazon spokesperson Sam Stephenson said, “We want to make it clear that we encourage our Delivery Service Partners to support their drivers. That includes giving drivers the time they need for breaks in between stops, providing a list within the Amazon Delivery app of nearby restroom facilities and gas stations, and building in time on routes to use the restroom or take longer breaks.”