Amazon may have to pay its workers for the time they spend in security lines and getting searched as they leave its warehouses.
The e-commerce giant had argued that the law didn’t require it to pay hourly employees for all the time they spent getting searched on their way out of the warehouse. According to a 2010 lawsuit reported by Bloomberg, the searches take about 25 minutes after employees clock out as Amazon’s security team rifles through their belongings to ostensibly prevent theft. (Amazon disagreed that it took so long.) Back in 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled (unanimously, even!) that under federal law, Amazon didn’t have to pay employees for time spent on those screenings.
However, under Nevada state law, employees are entitled to pay for mandatory screenings, so the Nevada warehouse workers sued under that law, demanding to be compensated for their time.
Naturally, Amazon didn’t like that, and so another court battle ensued, eventually winding up in the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In a 2-1 ruling, the panel held that Nevada’s law doesn’t allow employers to require pre- or post-work activities. Amazon appealed to the Supreme Court in the case, Integrity Staffing Solutions v. Busk.
Today the high court rejected that appeal, meaning Amazon is stuck with the appeals court ruling and may have to pay up and compensate its Nevada-based hourly workers for all the time they spend in post-work security searches after their shifts. The Nevada workers are seeking class-action status in their suit against Amazon and its staffing company, Integrity Staffing Solutions.
We reached out to Amazon for comment and will update if we hear back.