The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case in which staffing firm workers at Amazon.com warehouses say they are owed wages for waiting in line to go through a security check at the end of their workdays.
Workers claim they must stand in line for up 25 minutes to go through a metal detector. The checks are in place to prevent theft from the warehouse.
The Supreme Court’s ultimate decision in the case could have widespread repercussion for employers.
“It would require thousands of employers to modify their time-keeping systems or eliminate security screening altogether,” according to a friend of the court brief filed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Society for Human Resource Management and others. “The latter option is untenable in today’s world. The former option cannot be achieved overnight or without considerable cost.”
According to another filing in the case, other lawsuits have already been filed against Amazon.com, Apple and CVS seeking hundreds of millions in damages and penalties for security screenings.
The initial lawsuit was first filed in Oct. 22, 2010, against Integrity Staffing Solutions. The initial complaint included allegations that workers should be paid for waiting in line for security checks. It also alleged plaintiff’s breaks were lessened by as much as 10 minutes because they were required to walk long distance to clock in and out, and were therefore owed money.
A U.S. district court in Nevada dismissed the case in July 2011. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal affirmed the dismissal of allegations related to the lunch break, but reversed the decision in relation to the standing in line for security checks.
When contacted, Integrity said it does not comment on pending litigation.
The Supreme Court case is Integrity Staffing Solutions Inc. v. Busk.
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