Taree Truong wore a uniform bearing Amazon's logo, signed into an Amazon tracking device and was told by Amazon dispatchers to make deliveries for its new Prime Now courier service across far-flung parts of Orange County.
During one trip at rush hour, Truong said she was expected to drive from Amazon's Irvine warehouse to Lake Forest, then Mission Viejo, back to Irvine and on to Newport Beach — all within two hours.
"Everything we did was under their control," said Truong, of Garden Grove. "They're telling us where we need to go, how to deliver these packages to customers and how to interact with those customers when we're there."
Yet Truong and other drivers for Amazon Prime Now weren't considered employees of Amazon or Scoobeez, its contracted courier company. Instead, they were treated as independent contractors — making them ineligible for overtime pay, mileage reimbursement, workers' compensation and other protections given to employees under state and federal law.
She's one of four former Prime Now drivers who sued the company and its contractor in state court this week, alleging that Amazon is achieving speed and affordability only by cheating workers.