Amazon Warehouses Under Federal Investigation by Department of Labor

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), within the United States Department of Labor, has opened an investigation into Amazon’s safety at their warehouses.  OSHA inspected warehouses for Amazon in Chicago, Orlando, and New York City. In a statement given to media, the Department of Labor said:

“OSHA received referrals from the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York regarding allegations of safety and health violations at several Amazon facilities.”

“Acting on the referrals, OSHA has opened inspections at Amazon workplaces in New York, Illinois and Florida.”

The inspections began on Monday July 18, 2022.

Amazon Warehouse Associate Investigation by New York Attorney’s Office

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced an investigation into workplace safety at Amazon warehouses.  Their investigation includes a review of workplace safety, workplace hazards, worker rate requirements, and whether Amazon is reporting injuries.

“The United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration entered Amazon warehouses outside New York City, Chicago and Orlando to conduct workplace safety inspections in response to referrals received from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York concerning potential workplace hazards related, among other things, to Amazon’s required pace of work for its warehouse employees.”

Amazon Warehouse Associate Wage and Hour Complaints

California maintains a public government database of wage claims made to the Labor Commissioner’s Office and the Division of Labor Standards.

A search for “Amazon” in the State of California’s Wage Claim Search, found at the Department of Industrial Relations website, shows 324 wage claims against Amazon, Amazon subsidiaries, and those doing business as Amazon in shipping or warehouse activities since January 2020.

Workers at companies including Amazon are entitled to take rest breaks as required by state and other laws, without work. Meal breaks are also required.  During meal breaks, employers must relieve workers of duties. If a worker is required to continue monitoring a task, or complete work during their break, the meal break is to be paid. Additional penalties can apply.

In states such as California, each meal break penalty must also be separately listed on wage statements so workers understand they received their bonus for the missed break. Failure to supply itemized statements of penalties can result in a maximum of $4,000 in additional penalties, separately from owed wages.

Warehouse Associate Injuries

The Civil Division of the SDNY is requesting workers submit safety concerns through an online form. The questions cover topics such as the rate workers are required to work, whether injuries that occur can be adequately treated using the first-aid system provided at the warehouse, and if Amazon is “discouraging” workers from seeking treatment.

The questionnaire asks whether you are working at a fulfillment center, sortation center, delivery station, prime air hub, cross dock center, or other. They are looking for information from workers at all these locations, including for these positions:

  • Inbound Unloading
  • Inbound Palletizing
  • Inbound Waterspider
  • Stowing
  • Picking
  • Outbound Scanner
  • Outbound Waterspider
  • Outbound Loading
  • AFE Rebin
  • AFE Pack
  • Smart Pack
  • Single Pack
  • Safety Team Manager
  • Manager
  • AmCare Staff

Employment Law Firm

If you believe you are not being paid for all of the time you have worked, are not being paid the overtime due to you, or you and your coworkers are experiencing injuries due to an unsafe work environment, we invite you to schedule a consultation with us. Schneider Wallace Cottrell Konecky LLP is a national law firm that represents employees in a wide range of employment law cases, including class action lawsuits involving the failure to pay wages, overtime pay and commissions. Contact us at 1-800-689-0024.

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