Supply Drivers for Grocery Startup Weee! Allege Labor Violations, Theft of Ideas

Two supply drivers for the Fremont-based grocery supply startup Weee! sued the corporate alleging labor code violations, together with garnishing of suggestions, failure to supply sufficient breaks and ignoring well being and security legal guidelines. 

Filed in Alameda County Superior Courtroom, the swimsuit is in search of class-action standing and has two named plaintiffs, Yi Music and Xiangyang Ji. 

Each began working as supply drivers on the firm’s facility in Union Metropolis in 2021. Whereas Music nonetheless works on the firm, Ji was terminated after three months, allegedly in retaliation for his complaints in regards to the firm’s violations. 

The grievance alleges that Weee! additionally established insurance policies that punished staff for discussing their wages and dealing situations. A listening to is scheduled for April 25. 

Weee!, which focuses on delivering hard-to-find objects from Asian and Hispanic grocery shops, was based in 2015 by Larry Liu and has raised greater than $850 million in funding, together with a $425 million Sequence E led by SoftBank that gave it a valuation of $4.1 billion. 

Weee! didn’t reply to a request for touch upon the lawsuit. 

Based on the grievance, the 2 plaintiffs observed “substantial irregularities with their tip-related compensation” in an indication that the corporate was withholding cost quantities previous typical tax deductions. The grievance additionally alleges that Weee! established insurance policies that punished staff for discussing their wages and dealing situations.

After a buyer lodged a grievance with Weee! concerning the transparency of tip funds, a human sources supervisor issued a message that threatened “disciplinary motion” for many who “disseminate any improper statements,” in accordance with the lawsuit. The lawsuit mentioned that the corporate terminated a drivers’ WeChat group the place working situations had been mentioned and retaliated in opposition to staff who lodged complaints. 

The plaintiffs additionally claimed well being and security violations, together with a scarcity of coaching and hand safety for staff dealing with dry ice. That led to one of many named plaintiffs experiencing dizziness, shortness of breath and practically a lack of consciousness whereas driving, in accordance with the grievance. 

The grievance additionally claims that round 100 supply drivers are misclassified as impartial contractors, regardless of performing the identical duties and tasks as drivers who’re categorised as W-2 staff, and that the corporate forces drivers to work by way of meal breaks. 

The plaintiffs are in search of again pay, compensatory damages and civil penalties underneath the Personal Attorneys Basic Act, in addition to an injunction to cease the corporate’s alleged labor code violations. 

Kevin Truong will be reached at [email protected]