Did Amazon shortchange its staffers on overtime? The lawyers will find out


The Kindle may be sky-high on customers' wish lists for Christmas, but the holiday season has presented Amazon (AMZN) with a headache: a potential class-action lawsuit, filed the day before Thanksgiving by a former worker at one of its Nevada warehouses, charging that the online retailer has shorted its 21,000 workers on overtime pay.

According to the suit [PDF], Richard Austin, an employee of the company's distribution center in Fernley, Nevada, from September 2008 through last August, charges that Amazon regularly rounded shift start- and end-times to the nearest quarter-hour -- costing workers up to 15 minutes of overtime pay daily, even when the company required workers to work that extra time.