Amazon drivers allege peeing in bottles to meet delivery goals

Three Amazon delivery drivers in Colorado are suing the tech giant over poor work conditions, including allegations of urinating in bottles and defecating in bags.

In a lawsuit filed Monday in Denver District Court, drivers Leah Cross, Marco Granger-Rivera and Ryan Schilling said the pressure of “harsh work quotas” around their delivery goals kept them from using restrooms on the job.

“Drivers urinate in plastic bottles and even defecate in dog waste bags in the back of their delivery vans to ensure that they do not face discipline for failing to stay on pace with their deliveries,” the lawsuit stated.

The lawsuit alleged violations of the drivers’ rights, including defying Colorado’s mandate for employers to provide workers with paid rest breaks every four hours and discriminating against people with female anatomy who cannot properly urinate without bathroom access.

But Amazon contested the allegations.

“We want to make it clear that we encourage our Delivery Service Partners to support their drivers,” Amazon spokesperson Sam Stephenson said. “That includes giving drivers the time they need for breaks in between stops, providing a list within the Amazon Delivery app of nearby restroom facilities and gas stations, and building in time on routes to use the restroom or take longer breaks.”

David Seligman, executive director of nonprofit law firm Towards Justice, said worker challenges in accessing the bathroom go beyond Amazon. His team has heard of the problem “for years” from employees in a variety of sectors, including transportation and manufacturing.

This particular situation could be impacting thousands of Amazon drivers statewide, Seligman said. His firm and two other legal groups are representing the plaintiffs.

“This is happening right here in Colorado, right here in Denver,” he said in a telephone interview.

The drivers are seeking unpaid wages, penalties and a change in Amazon’s policies, but it’s still too early to determine a specific monetary value, Seligman added.

Lawsuit details

Amazon’s “Delivery Service Partners” – local transposition and logistic companies – send drivers out on routes that follow schedules, with work monitored through GPS tracking and surveillance cameras in the vehicles, the lawsuit stated. It alleged that leadership is aware of the measures that drivers take to meet their work demands.

“Supervisors of Amazon drivers instruct drivers to remove ‘pee bottles’ from delivery vehicles,” the lawsuit stated. “Managers also instruct drivers to urinate or defecate outside the range of the surveillance cameras that Amazon uses in its vehicles to monitor delivery drivers.”

Trash cans in Amazon fulfillment centers are described in the lawsuit as “frequently overflowing with bottles full of urine that drivers have thrown away at the end of their shifts.”

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