Freelancing • Entrepreneurship • Remote Work • Productivity

Amazon Battles With Employees Over Work-From-Home Expenses: A Detailed Analysis

Amazon has defeated a proposed class action lawsuit that claimed the company should have – but didn’t – sufficiently reimburse costs related to its employees working from home during the pandemic.

US District Judge Vincent Chhabria dismissed the lawsuit in San Francisco, announcing that 619 of the 7,000 California workers represented, or 8.8%, were reimbursed an average of $66.49 for home internet expenses, with some reimbursed in full.

Furthermore, Chhabria concluded that plaintiff David Williams had not shown sufficient evidence of a company-wide policy within Amazon of not reimbursing expenses like internet bills.

Amazon hybrid working

However, the plaintiff’s motion for class certification was denied without prejudice, which means that Williams and his lawyers can file a renewed motion again.

Already, Williams’ lawyer Craig Ackermann has expressed plans to file a new motion that excludes the 619 workers that were found to have received reimbursement, saying: “We are very pleased and happy to accept the court’s challenge to try again for certification following a bit more discovery” (via Reuters).

Williams first sued Amazon in 2021 on the basis that he and many colleagues had used their personal phones, internet, and other services and utilities to enable a hybrid working routine, but that the company had failed to abide by state laws to reimburse work-related expenses. Class-action claims were added at a later stage.

Amazon said that the work-from-home mandate was issued by the government, thus it was not required to reimburse such expenses, but even so, Chhabria denied its request to dismiss the case earlier this year.

William’s choice of lawyer has not gone unnoticed, having previously dealt with similar claims against IBM, Fox Broadcasting, and Oracle, some of which settled in favor of workers. While this instance has been dismissed, the case is likely to continue.

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