A U.S. magistrate judge dismissed a proposed class action filed against Amazon that claimed the company’s warehouse production quotas counted as discrimination against older employees.
On Jan. 27, the judge found the 2021 lawsuit was too vague and didn’t identify specific discriminatory policies, according to Reuters.
Lawsuit: Hourly quotas place older workers at risk of injury
Workers brought the suit against Amazon, claiming the company’s “hourly quotas place older workers at a higher risk of injury.”
The lawsuit said that Amazon warehouses require each employee to move 150 to 300 items per hour, depending on their job duties. Disciplinary action can be taken if quotas are missed.
Because “workers 49 and older are more susceptible to injuries, including those resulting from highly repetitive motions, the quotas amount to age discrimination in violation of California law,” the lawsuit claimed.
‘Improper to infer older workers more likely to be injured’
In her decision, the judge said, “Simply because physical strength declines with age does not automatically mean that older workers are more likely to get injured or fail to keep up with the quotas.”
The judge found it would be improper from a legal standpoint to infer that older workers are more likely to be injured merely because of their age.
Company claims quota issues are a misconception
An Amazon spokesperson told Reuters that “the claim that the company imposes quotas on workers was a misconception, and employees are able to take informal breaks during their shifts to stretch or use the bathroom.”
The company has come under scrutiny by federal and state regulators recently because of high injury rates within its warehouse facilities.
Amazon, which faces up to $60,000 in fines, has said it invests hundreds of millions of dollars annually to ensure worker safety.