Amazon didn't give workers breaks to pump breast milk - Lawsuit

Amazon employee Fernanda Torres said in the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles federal court on Friday that the 640,000-square-foot warehouse in Beaumont, California where she works only has one small room dedicated to nursing mothers who need to pump milk.

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Amazon.com Inc has been hit with a proposed class action claiming it failed to provide breaks and appropriate facilities for warehouse workers to pump breast milk, as claims mount against the company that its massive fulfillment centers are unsafe for workers.

Amazon employee Fernanda Torres said in the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles federal court on Friday that the 640,000-square-foot warehouse in Beaumont, California where she works only has one small room dedicated to nursing mothers who need to pump milk.

And workers must take unpaid breaks or forego pumping because of Amazon's strict production quotas, Torres claims. She accused Amazon of violating federal and California laws that require employers to provide nursing mothers with reasonable break times and appropriate places to express milk.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The lawsuit comes as Amazon, the second-largest private U.S. employer, faces increasing scrutiny over its treatment of workers and efforts to unionize warehouses that can employ thousands of workers. The U.S. Department of Justice said in July that it is investigating safety issues at Amazon warehouses.

Much of the criticism of Amazon has centered around its enforcement of production quotas that reportedly force workers to skip breaks and work at a dangerous pace. In a single year ending April 2020, Amazon disciplined workers at one New York City warehouse 13,000 times for falling short of expectations, according to filings in a lawsuit involving the facility.

Amazon has said that the goals it sets for workers are fair and reflect what most employees accomplish and that it regularly gives feedback so workers understand what is expected of them.

Torres in Friday's lawsuit said Amazon employees who are breastfeeding are forced to take unpaid breaks and risk discipline for not meeting quotas in order to pump milk.

Women at the Beaumont warehouse often wait in long lines to use the single room dedicated to pumping, and their paid breaks are not long enough to cover the time it takes to walk to the room, pump, and clean up, she said.

Torres had a five-month-old infant when she began working at the warehouse in August 2021, according to the lawsuit.

Torres is seeking to represent Amazon employees in California who were lactating parents over the last four years. The proposed class includes hundreds of people, according to the complaint.