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Amazon sued by warehouse workers over COVID-19 screening pay

2 minute read

REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

  • Workers at Colorado warehouses waited up to an hour to be screened before clocking in
  • Amazon also allegedly required off-the-clock work before pandemic

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Oct 6 (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc has been accused of violating Colorado state law by failing to pay warehouse workers for time spent undergoing COVID-19 screenings before clocking in at work.

Jennifer Vincenzetti, who worked at two Amazon warehouses in Colorado Springs, filed a proposed class action in Colorado federal court on Tuesday claiming the company made workers wait in long lines to answer questions and have their temperatures checked.

Seattle-based Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The proposed class includes more than 10,000 people at five Colorado warehouses.

"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, said in a statement.

The complaint says that beginning in March 2020 Amazon required employees at Colorado warehouses to arrive early, wait in lines outside the facilities, and then answer questions and check their temperature once they were inside. The process generally took 20 to 60 minutes, according to the lawsuit.

That time is compensable under Colorado law, which says workers must be paid when they are required to be on their employer's premises or on duty, according to the suit.

Amazon has argued in a similar lawsuit in California federal court that because the screenings primarily benefit workers, they do not amount to compensable time under federal wage law.

Walmart has raised the same defense in a proposed class action in Arizona federal court claiming the retail giant's failure to pay employees for time spent in COVID screenings violated state law.

Reporting by Daniel Wiessner; Editing by Noeleen Walder

Dan Wiessner (@danwiessner) reports on labor and employment and immigration law, including litigation and policy making. He can be reached at daniel.wiessner@thomsonreuters.com.

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