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Amazon, trucking company hit with wage-and-hour lawsuit

Today's on-demand economy is dependent on commercial trucking to get items from manufacturers to warehouses and from warehouses to your Milwaukee doorstep. Because of the immense pressure on truckers and delivery drivers from the moment you place your online order, the allegations in a recent wage-and-hour lawsuit against Amazon are not entirely surprising.

A driver who works for a trucking company that contracts with Amazon says the two companies worked him "into the ground like a rented mule." He says in his lawsuit that the companies routinely violate federal trucking safety regulations limiting the number of hours truckers can be behind the wheel.

The trucker says he was "intentionally deprived" of sleep by Amazon and his employer, AAA Freight, who forced him to work 20- to 30-hour shifts with rest breaks that lasted only one to two hours. Federal Motor Carrier Administration regulations state that truckers can spend a maximum of 11 hours per day driving, though they can be on-duty for up to 14 hours.

Those hours are tracked by electronic logging devices in the vehicles. The trucker says AAA Freight "remotely edited" the device's data and that Amazon, which also tracks driving time, did nothing to ensure he got required rest breaks.

When he complained about the safety regulation-busting schedule, he was told to either do what he was told or "find a new line of work more suitable for laziness."

The truck driver said he was seriously injured last autumn when he fell asleep behind the wheel after another impermissibly short rest break.

This lawsuit is the latest in a string of legal actions against retailers and trucking companies accused of deliberately violating federal trucking regulations. Walmart, P.A.M. Transport, C.R. England and Werner have all been ordered to adjust truck driver pay and rest after they were sued.

If your employer is violating federal or Wisconsin wage-and-hour laws, contact the Milwaukee law offices of Alan C. Olson and Associates.

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