An Amazon driver said she nearly lost her house and had her car repossessed with her kids’ Christmas presents inside after an algorithm suddenly fired her

Amazon Delivery Driver
An Amazon delivery driver.

After three years working for Amazon’s contractor delivery service, Amazon Flex, 42-year-old Neddra Lira said she was suddenly fired last October.

As a result, Lira said, her car was repossessed and she stopped paying her mortgage. When the car was repossessed, it had donated Christmas presents inside for her three children, Lira told Bloomberg.

“I nearly lost my house,” she said. Lira’s other job, as a school bus driver, was on hiatus in October 2020 as schools were still mostly remote and pandemic lockdowns remained in place.

Amazon’s Flex program is a contractor position where drivers use their own vehicles. Deliveries routes are chosen through a corresponding app – like Uber or Lyft, but for Amazon package delivery.

Just before her firing, Lira was assessed by Amazon’s Flex app as being in “Great” standing as an employee, screenshots obtained by Bloomberg show – part of the algorithmic tracking of Amazon’s contracted delivery drivers.

Then, on October 2, 2020, Lira said she received an email saying she’d violated the service’s terms and was “no longer eligible to participate in the Amazon Flex program.”

After weeks of emails and appeals, Lira’s case was reviewed and denied by a string of emails from employees she’d never met.

It’s not clear what caused Lira’s firing in the first place, but Amazon Flex drivers speaking with Bloomberg describe tracking issues with Amazon’s algorithms: The inability to account for a long line of Flex drivers outside of the delivery station, for instance, or car maintenance and repair issues that can cause delivery delays.

Amazon representatives didn’t respond to a request for comment.

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Amazon will pay contract delivery drivers $8.2 million to settle a wage-theft lawsuit

Amazon delivery driver packages
  • Amazon has agreed to pay $8.2 million to settle a wage-theft lawsuit, Vice News reported Friday.
  • Contract delivery drivers alleged Amazon was to blame for drivers not receiving legally required breaks and overtime.
  • Amazon has faced similar legal challenges in California and other states.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Amazon agreed last month to pay some of its contract delivery drivers in Washington state $8.2 million to settle a class-action wage-theft lawsuit, reported earlier on Friday by Vice News and confirmed by Insider.

The lawsuit, originally filed by two Amazon delivery drivers in 2017, had alleged Amazon was partly to blame for illegally failing to pay drivers the minimum wage and denying them compensation for overtime and rest breaks.

The drivers, Gus Ortiz and Mark Fredley, worked for Amazon delivery service partner Jungle Trux – one of a sprawling network of contractors Amazon uses in part to reduce its legal liability and labor costs.

Ortiz and Fredley alleged Amazon imposed delivery quotas of 150 to 200 packages per day, forcing drivers to skip legally mandated rest breaks and work past their 10-hour shifts to complete the routes, and that Jungle Trux failed to pay them for those extra hours.

The settlement, first reported on Friday, covers drivers who worked for eight Amazon delivery service partners (DSPs) in Washington state between December 2014 and July 2020: Dash Delivery, Delivery Force, A‐1 Express Delivery Service (doing business as 1‐800 Courier), Progistics Distribution, Revelation Delivery, Genesis Delivery, and Transportation Brokerage Specialists.

“Amazon does not tolerate violations of labor laws. Where we find repeated violations, or an inability to correct labor violations, we terminate contracts with DSP program participants,” Amazon spokesperson Leah Seay told Insider in a statement.

But the company has faced a number of legal challenges from drivers employed by its DSP network.

California regulators fined Amazon $6.4 million for wage-theft violations earlier this month concerning former Amazon contractor Green Messengers. Amazon told Insider it was “not aware of the investigation” and is appealing the fine.

Amazon is also facing class-action lawsuits over wage-theft allegations in Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Texas, and Washington state, according to Vice’s analysis of court records.

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