Depending on who you ask, working from home can either be a blessing or a horrible experience. Whether you hate or love it, working from home has pros and cons. For an Amazon engineer from California, he deemed one con so severe, he's suing the company.
The lawsuit comes from senior software engineer David George Williams on behalf of himself and some 4,000 workers employed by California's 12 Amazon locations.
The suit asks that Amazon reimburse workers for electricity and internet costs that rose due to working from home and argues such costs would range from $50 to $100 per month when workers were told to avoid corporate campuses during the coronavirus pandemic. Williams’ complaint states this added up to over $5 million.
Williams claims Amazon violated California labor laws and cites Labor Code section 2802, which states, "An employer shall indemnify his or her employee for all necessary expenditures or losses incurred by the employee in direct consequence of the discharge of his or her duties, or of his or her obedience to the directions of the employer."
Amazon says it should not be on the hook for these expenditures because the company was following shelter-at-home orders.
Attorneys for the company wrote, "Plaintiff's claims fail because the law does not require Amazon to reimburse expenses that were caused by government actions."
A California judge rejected Amazon's attempt to dismiss the lawsuit completely. He added, "What matters is whether Williams incurred those expenses' in direct consequence of the discharge of his or her duties, or of his or her obedience to the directions of the employer.'"
However, the judge did dismiss the claims that Amazon violated California's laws alleging "unfair business practices" and gave Williams' legal team 14 days to file an amended complaint.