Workers Seek Pay for Time in Company Security Searches

Amazon.com warehouse

A federal appeals court reinstated the wage law violation suit of Nevada workers who say they should be paid for the time they spend going through security checks at an Amazon.com warehouse before leaving work.

Two former workers for a private staffing firm for Amazon.com, filed a class action claiming workers should be paid for the time – up to 25 minutes – they spend going through security searches on the way out the door of the warehouse.

Jesse Busk and Laurie Castro worked for Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc., filling warehouse orders for Amazon.com customers. They say they must clock out and then go through 25 minutes security checks at the end of each shift while the company makes sure workers aren’t walking out the door with merchandise. But the time is unpaid, they say.

In addition, they said the actions by Integrity Staffing violated Nevada state wage and hour law.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals joined three other circuit courts to hold that while the federal and state law procedures for treatment of the claims conflict, the workers should be allowed to proceed.

The trial judge dismissed the suit saying that under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act security checks are not compensated time for workers. The judge also dismissed the Nevada state labor claims because of conflicting state/federal procedures. The FLSA requires workers to sign statements that they want to “opt-in” to the federal suit, but state class actions require a participant to “opt-out” if they do not want to join an already filed class action.

But the appeal court said the conflict does not prevent the cases from working in tandum.

Judge Sidney Thomas said the appeals court found the two workers outlined a valid claim under FLSA for the time spent passing through security. The panel reinstated both federal and state claims.

Busk and Castro were less successful when it came to an additional claim that they had shortened lunch periods because they had to go through similar security checks. Judge Thomas said this is more closely related to whether they can be paid for remaining “on-call” during lunch.

Although Nevada requires 30-minute lunch periods, the state does not allow private lawsuits to enforce the law, Thomas said.

Thomas was joined by Judge Jerome Farris and N. Randy Smith.

Case: Busk v. Integrity Staffing Solutions, No. 11-16892

 

 

 

 

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