Amazon asks Supreme Court to reconsider arbitration decision

Online giant Amazon has asked the US Supreme Court to reconsider its refusal last week to decide on whether the company’s final mile delivery drivers are exempt from arbitrating wage claims.

The decision by the Supreme Court is important as if the driver is engaged in interstate commerce, they can pursue wage-hour claims against the company through the courts as opposed to a formal arbitration process and can thereby achieve potentially better outcomes in their claims.

Appeals courts in the US have offered different judgements on the matter. Amazon asked the Supreme Court to reconsider on basis its lawyers have said the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Hamrick vs Partsfleet LLC has created a clear divide on whether transportation workers who do not cross state lines as part of their job are still ‘engaged in interstate commerce’ and are thereby exempt from the Federal Arbitration Act.

According to Amazon the 11th Circuit Court decision has knocked out the Amazon driver Bernard Waithaka’s sole objection to the Supreme Court granting a review on the 1st Circuit ruling that said he was exempt from the Federal Arbitration Act, which was on basis that the appeals courts have been in agreement on the issue to date.

“Nor does any support remain for respondent’s prediction that a ‘consensus (would) likely continue to grow that drivers like the Amazon drivers here, who transport goods on the ‘last mile’ of their interstate journey, are engaged in interstate commerce,'” the company’s legal team wrote.

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