Monday Oct 07, 2019
The US Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear Amazon’s bid to avoid a lawsuit seeking to ensure that warehouse workers for the e-commerce giant get paid for the time it takes them to go through extensive post-shift security screenings.
The justices, on the first day of their new term, turned away an appeal by Amazon and a contractor of a lower court ruling reviving the workers’ claims under Nevada state law. The decision comes five years after the Supreme Court issued a ruling in the case that barred similar claims under federal law.
A group of Amazon warehouse workers who package and ship merchandise filed a proposed class-action lawsuit in 2010 against the contractor, Integrity Staffing Solutions, which provides some of the hourly employees for Amazon.
The workers sought compensation for submitting to what they called mandatory “post-9/11 type of airport security” screenings that are aimed at preventing employee theft. The workers have said the screening takes around 25 minutes to complete.
Amazon called the plaintiffs’ description of the protocol “grossly inaccurate” in court papers.
In its 2014 ruling in the case, the Supreme Court decided that under a 1947 law that amended the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, companies do not have to pay employees for the time they spend undergoing security checks.
The workers subsequently pressed their allegations under state law and added Amazon as a defendant. The case was consolidated with similar ones in federal court in Kentucky.
A judge there dismissed the case, citing the 2014 Supreme Court ruling, since Nevada wage laws track their federal counterparts. The Cincinnati, Ohio-based 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals in 2018 overturned that decision.