In a District of New Jersey complaint filed on Tuesday, Geran Smith, a former Amazon Flex driver, accused Amazon.com Services Inc. and unidentified others of failing to pay him wages and gratuity he earned on the job. The complaint explained that Flex drivers, like Smith, are employed by the e-commerce giant as independent contractors to deliver consumer goods.
The plaintiff reported that he worked as a Flex driver from July 2015 through September 2019 and his contract stated that he would earn a minimum of $17.50 per hour and 100% of customer tips electronically given to him. According to the filing, Smith performed his duties in a timely manner.
However, on multiple occasions, Amazon either failed to compensate Smith the amount owed to him, or failed to compensate him “for all the additional hours he worked.” On top of that, customers told the plaintiff they tipped him electronically, but he was reportedly never given these tips. The complaint stated that, on information and belief, similarly situated employees were also denied tips.
The filing alleged that though classified as independent contractors by Amazon, Flex drivers are actually employees within the meaning of the New Jersey Wage Payment Law and New Jersey Wage and Hour Law. The complaint set forth counts for violations of those laws as well as a count for wage theft on behalf of Smith. The plaintiff is represented by Ibrahim Ahmed Law Group P.C.
Notably, the suit follows the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) $61.7 million resolution of a similar dispute against Amazon earlier this month. The agency alleged that Amazon siphoned off customer tips in order to pay drivers regular wages over a two and a half year period. The FTC plans to distribute the settlement to wronged Flex drivers.