The First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals denied Amazon’s request an en banc panel rehearing in a case which decided that Amazon delivery drivers are considered transportation workers. The three judge panel originally sided with plaintiffs finding that an Amazon driver, working as an independent contractor, was within the definition of a transportation worker who engaged in interstate commerce. As a consequence, those workers were exempt from arbitration under the Federal Arbitration Act.
The First Circuit held that Amazon delivery drivers are considered interstate commerce transportation workers regardless if they only made a single state’s deliveries.
The case, filed in Massachusetts, began as a wage-and-hour class action in 2017. This suit alleged that Amazon misclassified delivery drivers as independent contractors in order to bind them to an arbitration agreement. That designation allowed Amazon to allegedly avoid suppling work-related necessary items like delivery vehicles, insurance, cell phones, gasoline and others.
The case is Bernard Waithaka v. Amazon.com Inc. et al., case number 19-1848, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.
This blog is intended to provide information to the general public and to practitioners about developments that may impact Oregon class actions.