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Amazon Must Face Suit From Drivers Who Allege Online Monitoring

Sept. 16, 2021, 3:53 PM

Amazon.com Inc. must face a potential class action lawsuit from delivery drivers who claim that the retail giant monitored their communications online.

The alleged monitoring doesn’t fall within the scope of an arbitration agreement that covers drivers in Amazon’s so-called “Flex” delivery program, according to a Wednesday order from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

Amazon’s Flex program uses an app to pay people for delivering packages with their own vehicles.

The suit alleges that Amazon violated federal wiretapping law by monitoring private groups on Facebook Inc. where Flex drivers discussed issues including working conditions and unionizing efforts. Amazon allegedly used automated tools and dedicated employees to observe the groups online, according to the complaint.

Amazon tried to resolve the claims out of court, arguing that drivers agreed to arbitration as part of the Flex terms of service.

The driver who brought the suit on behalf of about 800 other Flex program participants counters that even though the content of the Facebook posts concerned their contracts with Amazon, the suit centers on Amazon’s monitoring of private communications.

U.S. District Judge William Hayes agreed, saying in his order that Amazon’s alleged intrusion into private groups isn’t related to the Flex terms of service or the drivers’ participation and performance in the program.

The case is Jackson v. Amazon.com Inc., S.D. Cal., No. 20-CV-2365, order 9/15/21.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrea Vittorio in Washington at avittorio@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kibkabe Araya at karaya@bloombergindustry.com

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