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US – Appeals court reverses dismissal in security line compensation suit

April 15 2013

A federal court dismissed a claim by workers at Amazon warehouse operations in Nevada asking that the workers be compensated for time spent going through a metal detector security search at the end of their shifts in the lawsuit Busk v. Integrity Staffing Solutions. However, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the dismissal in an opinion issued earlier this month, sending the case back to the district court, according to court documents.

The Appeals Court's opinion said the security screening wasn't put in place because of the nature of work -- such as a worker donning protective clothing -- but was done to prevent theft. It said the district court erred in assuming that two other cases cited in court records created a blanket rule that security clearances are noncompensable.

The workers also sought compensation for their entire 30-minute lunch periods because they had to walk to the lunch area, pass through security and were reminded by supervisors to finish their meals quickly so they could clock back in. The Appeals Court upheld a dismissal of this claim by the district court, but it reversed a portion of the ruling because plaintiffs argued that the lunch periods may be compensable under state law even if they are not compensable under federal law, according to court records.

Plaintiffs Jesse Busk and Laurie Castro are former employees of Integrity Staffing Solutions Inc. who worked as hourly employees at warehouses in Nevada. The lawsuit was initially filed in October 2010.

This is a corrected version of a story that first appeared in the April 15, 2013, issue of the Staffing Industry Daily News.

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