Former Amazon warehouse worker sues over pay for COVID-19 screening

Former Amazon warehouse worker sues over pay for COVID-19 screening
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A former Amazon warehouse worker is suing the retail giant for allegedly failing to pay her and other employees for time spent receiving COVID-19 screenings, claiming Amazon violated Colorado state law.

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff, Jennifer Vincenzetti, had worked at two Amazon warehouses in Colorado Springs between October 2018 and December 2020. The lawsuit, filed last week, claimed that Amazon required employees to undergo a COVID-19 screening before they could start their work for the day, but it claimed that employees were not paid for time spent getting screened.

The lawsuit claimed that the wait for screenings could sometimes take as long as 20 to 60 minutes, leading to “to long lines outside and inside the facilities." According to the lawsuit, she and others, a class estimated to include 10,000 people, should have been compensated under Colorado law for “time worked” given that she was performing duties to the company. 

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“During the pandemic, Amazon’s warehouses remained open as essential services and I kept working as an essential worker. There were constant quarantines, and my coworkers and I feared exposure on a daily basis,” Vincenzetti, who is being represented by Denver-based Towards Justice, said in a statement. “During this time of unprecedented demand for Amazon’s services, the least Amazon could do is pay us for this time spent in COVID screenings, which were necessary to keep their pandemic-fueled supply lines uninterrupted by sick workers.”

David Seligman, the executive director of Towards Justice, said in a statement that “Amazon appears fine in making efforts to keep its workers safe, so long as the workers are the ones footing the bill.”

A spokesperson for Amazon declined to comment on the lawsuit, citing active litigation.  

The class-action lawsuit comes as the retail giant is under scrutiny for its work practices. California signed a law last month targeting Amazon’s speed quotas that would provide protections to employees who are unable to meet them due to the need to take a rest period or bathroom break. It would also have the ability to open up investigations if the employee injury rate at a warehouse was at least 1.5 percent higher than the average annual injury rate of the warehousing industry.

This story was updated at 6:32 p.m.