|The Supreme Court on Wednesday pondered when the working day ends for hourly employees at an Amazon.com warehouse: when the worker punches the time clock, or later, when he clears a security check to make sure he hasn’t stolen anything.
Several justices seemed to think it was the former. But others seemed sympathetic to a lawsuit filed by workers at a Nevada facility arguing that enduring the wait to go through security — up to 25 minutes, according to those who filed the suit — was part of the job, and they should be paid for it.
The implications are great: there are more than a dozen class-action suits filed against Amazon and others who believe security checks are necessary to make sure none of their inventory walks out with the workers. A win could open the way for hundreds of millions of dollars in pay.
Paul D. Clement, representing Integrity Staffing Solutions, a company that supplies workers for Amazon.com, said waiting to go through a security check is a “classic” example of the kind of activity, like commuting, for which courts have said employers do not have to pay.
Going through security is not “integral and indispensable” to the job for which a worker is hired.
Justice Elena Kagan was not convinced, especially at companies where a tight control over their warehouses is essential.
“I mean, what makes it Amazon?” Kagan asked Clement. “It’s a system of inventory control that betters everybody else in the...
Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman 1.973.696.7900 email@example.com have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.