A new lawsuit alleges that Amazon docks its workers a half-hour’s worth of pay if they clock in more than three minutes after their shift is supposed to start.
The lawsuit also claims that a shortage of punch clocks, security checks, and other factors outside of employees’ control “regularly result in lost vacation time, smaller paychecks and termination,” Courthouse News Service reports.
The warehouse workers then face a difficult decision: work for 27 minutes without pay, or risk the company’s wrath by refusing to work until they’re officially considered to be on the clock. Most workers opt for the unpaid labor.
Many workers are said to arrive early for their shifts in an effort to make it through the crowded lines, punch in before the end of the three-minute grace period, and shorten their breaks so they can repeat the process all over again.
All of which means, if the allegations are to be believed, that Amazon has created a system that makes it hard for its workers to abide by its rules. So, in an effort to please the company, they end up working without compensation.
This lawsuit is but the latest of Amazon’s labor-related controversies. The company was also criticized for not paying its workers for the security checks, which can take up to 25 minutes, performed at the end of the workers’ shifts. (The Supreme Court ultimately ruled that Amazon’s policy was indeed legal.)
Then the company was forced to do an about-face when the Verge revealed that it asked seasonal workers to sign non-compete agreements that lasted much longer than their original employment, effectively barring them from finding work in many of the industries that would hire temporary workers.
Amazon workers have also gone on strike; its Mechanical Turk workers have complained about the way their labor is presented to employers; Amazon was caught using German neo-Nazi security guards to keep its immigrant workforce under control in Germany; and the company has decided to court controversy with an on-demand labor service.
Lead plaintiff Eric Chavez “seeks class certification, restitution and damages for unfair and deceptive business practices and other labor law violations, including improper deductions from wages and forfeiture of unused vacation wages,” according to Courthouse News Service’s report on the lawsuit.
Amazon has not yet responded to a request for comment.
[Illustration by Brad Jonas for Pando]