Amazon sued over employees' remote-work costs during COVID-19 pandemic – Reuters.com

Amazon sued over employees' remote-work costs during COVID-19 pandemic – Reuters.com

A worker in a face mask walks by trucks parked at an Amazon facility as the global coronavirus outbreak continued in Bethpage on Long Island in New York, U.S., March 17, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
March 25 (Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc is facing a lawsuit in California accusing it of violating state law by not reimbursing employees who were required to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic for internet, cell phone and other home office expenses.
Amazon employee David Williams claims in the lawsuit that he and other workers used their personal phones and home internet and electricity to work remotely and that the company flouted a state law requiring reimbursements for work-related expenses.
The case was transferred to a California federal court on Thursday, after Williams last week added class-action claims to the 2021 lawsuit on behalf of all Amazon employees in the state who were required to work from home during the pandemic.
Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Craig Ackermann of Ackermann & Tilajef, who represents Williams, said in an email that his firm has filed similar lawsuits against more than 20 companies including IBM Corp and Oracle Corp. Several of the cases have settled, with employers agreeing to give remote workers stipends of up to $83 per month, Ackermann said.
His firm also filed a lawsuit last month claiming Fox Broadcasting Co did not cover the costs for about 1,000 employees to use their personal phones and other equipment for work.
Fox has not yet responded to the claims. Oracle and IBM have denied wrongdoing.
Both the Amazon and Fox lawsuits were brought under a unique California law, the Private Attorney General Act, that allows workers to sue on behalf of the state and keep 25% of any penalties they win.
Claims made under the law cannot be sent to individual arbitration, allowing the many workers who have signed arbitration agreements with their employers to still sue in court on behalf of large groups of employees.
The class-action claims Williams added to his amended complaint against Amazon can carry much higher penalties than PAGA violations.
The case is Williams v. Amazon.com Services LLC, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, No. 5:22-cv-01892.
For Williams: Craig Ackermann of Ackermann & Tilajef; Joshua Klugman
For Amazon: Timothy Loose of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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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