Delivery drivers sue Amazon claiming they were forced to urinate in bottles and defecate in bags

Three Amazon delivery drivers, including an Iraq war veteran, have claimed they were forced to urinate in bottles and defecate in dog waste bags to keep up with the company’s demands.

A proposed class action lawsuit filed last week in Denver, Colorado, accuses Amazon of subjecting employees to ‘inhumane’ working conditions that saw them go to the bathroom inside delivery vans.

The plaintiffs claim they went through the extreme measures to make sure they didn’t face disciplinary action for falling behind pace on their deliveries.

Moreover, ‘delivery workers often restrained themselves of using the restroom at risk of serious health consequences,’ according to the 16-page document.

‘Amazon operates this scheme through harsh work quotas and elaborate tracking and workplace surveillance technology that make it impossible for Amazon delivery drivers to fulfill basic human needs while on the job,’ the suit reads.

Three Amazon drivers have filed a lawsuit against the company, claiming they were unable to take breaks to go to the restroom for fear of being disciplined 

The lawsuit accuses the company of violating Colorado state law, which requires employers to provide workers with paid breaks every four hours.

It claims the company’s delivery expectations are unachievable if drivers go off route for bathroom breaks and that drivers are penalized if they don’t keep up the pace.

The suit adds: ‘Near where Amazon delivery drivers finish their delivery shifts, trash cans are full of urine-filled bottles, as are trash cans at gas stations located near Amazon facilities.

‘Amazon delivery vans frequently smell of urine because bottles full of urine often spill on the floor of the vehicle.’

Plaintiff Ryan Schilling, an Iraq War veteran, claims he was forced to defecate into a dog waste bag in the back of the delivery van. The suit states that Schilling  ‘often found it more difficult to find time to take care of his basic human needs while working as an Amazon DSP driver in Colorado than he did while serving in active combat for the U.S. military.’

Schilling said he was sometimes required to make more than 200 stops a day, and deliver more than 500 packages, with each stop only supposed to take between two and five minutes.

Marco Granger-Rivera, another plaintiff, claims he had to urinate in a bottle ‘every day’ while working for Amazon. The suit states that on a few occasions he ‘has been on the verge of urinating and defecating in his pants.’

A third plaintiff, Lea Cross, says her ‘typical female anatomy’ has made it more difficult to urinate in a battle while on the job, which violates Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act.

Cross stated she received calls telling her that she was off course when she tried findings restrooms along her delivery route. She claims supervisors repeatedly asked where she was and if she was lost.

On one occasion, she was allegedly ‘admonished’ by a supervisor who ‘told her not to break her route.’ A different time, she was reportedly told to buy a Shewee – a plastic funnel that allows women to urinate more easily on the go.

Cross was fired for failing to keep up with the delivery schedule. 

The plaintiffs have also accused Amazon of breaking Colorado’s wage law by not paying them for their missed breaks. 

One of the plaintiffs claims she was told to buy a Shewee - a plastic funnel that allows women to urinate more easily on the go

One of the plaintiffs claims she was told to buy a Shewee – a plastic funnel that allows women to urinate more easily on the go

While Amazon drivers are employed by ‘Delivery Service Partners,’ the company ‘must acquiesce to Amazon’s control over nearly every aspect of their business,’ according to the lawsuit. 

Amazon denied the lawsuit’s claims in a statement to on Monday.   

‘We want to make it clear that we encourage our Delivery Service Partners to support their drivers.’ said spokesperson Simone Griffin.

‘That includes giving drivers the time they need for breaks in between stops, providing a list within the Amazon Delivery app of nearby restroom facilities and gas stations, and building in time on routes to use the restroom or take longer breaks.’

The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified unpaid wages, penalties, and a change in Amazon’s policies. 

Amazon has previously faced similar accusations and in 2021 apologized after denying a lawmaker’s claim that the company’s workers are forced to urinate in bottles.

‘We know that drivers can and do have trouble finding restrooms because of traffic or sometimes rural routes, and this has been especially the case during Covid when many public restrooms have been closed,’ the company said in a blog post. 

‘This is a long-standing, industry-wide issue and is not specific to Amazon. We’ve included just a few links below that discuss the issue.

‘Regardless of the fact that this is industry-wide, we would like to solve it. We don’t yet know how, but will look for solutions.’