Amazon has won a proposed class action lawsuit raised by almost 7,000 workers that claim the company should have reimbursed them for the cost of working remotely during Covid-19.
The US District Judge said the case was lost because the main plaintiff, David Williams, failed to prove that Amazon had a policy that didn't allow expenses like internet and cell phone to be covered.
With thousands of Amazon staffers recently expressing disdain about the company's return-to-office mandate, it's not the first time that the company and its workers have come to blows over remote work. Here's what we know so far.
Amazon Workers Attempt to Claim Back WFH Expenses
As discontent among Amazon's workforce brews, almost 7,000 workers tried and failed to claim back home office expenses incurred during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The main plaintiff, David Williams, first sued Amazon in 2021 for failing to reimburse him and his fellow employees for costs associated with hybrid working — like internet, personal phone use, and other services — despite this going against state laws. Williams then added class-action claims last year, after receiving backing from almost 7,000 of his co-workers.
The case was denied by US District Judge, Vincent Chhabria, as Williams wasn't able to provide evidence that Amazon has a policy that prevented staff members from being compensated.
Chharbria also said that more than 600 of the proposed class members were reimbursed, an average of $66.49 by Amazon, while some received full compensation.
However, even though William's case was blocked this time, his motion was denied without prejudice. This means that he'll be able to file a renewed motion against the ecommerce company in the future.
Amazon Workers Are Striking Back
While William's case hasn't yet been met with success, the number of workers involved reveals how widespread discontent is about Amazon's failure to reimburse a greater amount of WFH costs. But insufficient compensation isn't the only thing its workforce are up in arms about.
After allowing its employees to work remotely since the start of the pandemic, Amazon's CEO, Andy Jassy, recently called for workers to return to the office, for at least three days a week from May 1.
In response, around 5,000 Amazonians have signed a petition calling for Jassy's new mandate to be scrapped. Jaded workers also formed a breakaway Slack channel called “Remote Advocacy” to discuss the benefits of remote work as well as concerns regarding the CEO's new policy.
However, despite widespread appeals from his workforce, Andy Jassy is still calling for a hybrid return to the office to improve collaboration opportunities and to make it easier to learn in person.
And as the company still reels from the biggest round of layoffs made in its 28-year history, it's likely that driving up productivity by any means it thinks is necessary will continue to be a top priority going forward. It remains to be seen if refilling the office, with disgruntled workers, will achieve that aim.