Amazon was recently ordered by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to pay its warehouse workers for time spent in security screenings. If your employer requires you to spend time going through security checks before and/or after your shift, you may have a claim for unpaid wages.
What Did the Amazon Workers Allege?
Workers at Amazon Fulfillment Centers in Pennsylvania are required to go through security screenings after they clock out at the end of the workday. This is done as a precautionary measure by the company to minimize losses due to employee theft. Such security screenings are solely done for the benefit of the company.
Despite the extensive amount of time spent in security screenings, Amazon never paid their employees for this time. But in 2013, two Amazon employees at the company’s Breinigsville, PA warehouse filed a class action lawsuit seeking compensation for the time they spent waiting in line to have their bags searched.
Eventually, the class action reached Pennsylvania’s highest court, which has ruled that this practice violates the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act. Specifically, the Court determined that under the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act the phrase “hours worked” includes “any time when an employee is required by the employer to be on the premises of the employer.” Moreover, there is no exception for “de minimis” amounts of time under the Act.
The Court’s holding that time spent in security checks is compensable is not only a victory for Amazon employees in Pennsylvania—it is a win for any worker in Pennsylvania who has been required by his or her employer to spend time off-the-clock going through security screenings.
This ruling brings Pennsylvania in line with other states where Amazon has been required to pay warehouse workers for time spent in security screenings, including Arizona and Nevada.
The case is In re: Amazon.com Inc Fulfillment Center Fair Labor Standards Act and Wage and Hour Litigation, Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Docket No. 43 EAP 2019. A copy of the opinion can be found here.
Do I Have to Pay Attorney’s Fees?
No. Claims for unpaid wages are typically handled on a contingent fee basis. This means that the lawyers don’t get paid fees unless they obtain a recovery for you.
If your employer requires you to spend time in pre- and post-shift security screenings without pay, please contact We Stop Wage Theft at 844-696-7492 (toll-free) or email us at i[email protected]. You can also fill out the form on this page.
We will promptly evaluate your claim and let you know whether you are eligible to participate in a lawsuit for unpaid wages.