A pair of former delivery drivers has filed a class action lawsuit
against the trucking company that employed them and against Internet behemoth
Amazon, the merchant whose cargo they were delivering and who they allege acted as their "joint employer," saying the companies wrongly didn't pay overtime, making them earn less than what state and federal law requires.
In the lawsuit filed Nov. 1 in Cook County Circuit Court,
drivers Theron Bradley and Tommy Jenkins sued on behalf of themselves and other
drivers against sister companies Silverstar Ltd. and Gold Standard
Transportation Inc., as well as against Amazon.com LLC as a joint employer. The
drivers are claiming they were not paid overtime they were due under the federal
Fair Labor Standards Act and the Illinois Minimum Wage Law.
Silverstar and Gold Standard operate a carrier and logistics
business that, among other things, provides trucks and drivers to make
deliveries to customers of Amazon in Illinois. According to court documents,
the two logistics companies are intertwined, sharing human resources, common
management and office space in Crestwood.
Though Bradley and Jenkins appear to have been employed by
Silverstar/Gold Standard, the lawsuit makes the case that Amazon is a joint
employer, as defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act. According to court
documents, Silverstar and Gold Standard drivers who handle Amazon deliveries
are trained by Amazon staff and report each morning to an Amazon warehouse in
Chicago, where Amazon employees give them their days’ deliveries and
instructions. The drivers drive trucks and wear uniforms branded with Amazon’s
logo and their performance is tracked and supervised by Amazon personnel in
conjunction with Silverstar and Gold Standard personnel. The lawsuit states
Amazon’s influence on drivers’ employment even extends to the company having a
hand in employee evaluations and discipline.
Neither of the plaintiffs worked for the companies for long
– the lawsuit states that they were employed for a little more than a month
each last summer. During that time, however, the lawsuit claims they regularly
worked more than 40 hours per week, but were never paid overtime for the
In their attempt to certify the suit as a class action, the
plaintiffs assert more than 70 people experienced similar treatment from the
same three companies and that they may hesitate to bring their own actions for
“fear of retaliation.”
Under the FLSA, the lawsuit seeks judgment in the amount of
all unpaid overtime wages and liquidated damages in the same amount. Under the
IMWL, plaintiffs seek back wages and statutory damages. The plaintiffs also seek
court costs and any other damages the court deems appropriate.
The plaintiffs are represented by Alvar Ayala and
Christopher J. Williams of Workers’ Law Office P.C. in Chicago.
An Amazon spokesperson responded
Nov. 3 to the allegations within the lawsuit, saying
in a prepared statement:
“The small and medium sized businesses that partner with Amazon Logistics have their own employees and are required to abide by applicable laws and Amazon’s Supplier Code of Conduct, which focuses on compensation, benefits, and appropriate working hours.
"We investigate any claim that a provider isn't complying with these obligations.”