- Amazon has agreed to pay $11 million to settle a class action lawsuit filed by California workers alleging they should have been paid for time spent during mandatory security searches. The parties said the proposal "represents the remainder" of a wage and hour lawsuit filed in 2013 (In re: Amazon.com, Inc., Fulfillment Center Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Wage and Hour Litigation in relation to Saldana v. Amazon.com, LLC, No. 3:14-md-2504 (W.D. Ky., April 30, 2020)).
- The class of 200,000 non-exempt, hourly warehouse workers said the online retailer violated California labor laws when it failed to pay them for mandatory security searches lasting up to 30 minutes after they clocked out, both for meals and at the end of their shifts. The workers also alleged Amazon failed to provide accurate wage statements and did not pay all wages owed when workers left the company.
- The parties asked the court to sign off on the proposed settlement. Amazon did not respond to request for comment by publishing time.
California law generally provides stronger protection for workers than federal wage and hour law. For example, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year that the federal "de minimis" standard didn't apply in two cases involving off-the-clock exit inspections at Nike and Converse.
Employers in the state are increasingly facing such claims. Earlier this year, the state's Supreme Court ruled that Apple had to pay employees for time spent waiting on bag checks. The California court said the state requires compensation when employees are subject to an employer's control and that the time Apple employees spent waiting for and undergoing security checks clearly qualified. In a settlement reached around the same time, Ulta agreed to pay $1.75 million to settle four class action lawsuits alleging it violated California law by requiring employees to submit to security checks and other work tasks off the clock.
Similarly, Big Lots Stores paid $7 million late last year to end a class action post-shift waiting time suit under California law. The plaintiffs alleged, among other things, that they were forced to undergo unpaid security checks at the end of their shifts. Dick's Sporting Goods also recently paid out $2.9 million to a class of nearly 11,000 current and former employees in California who, like the Nike and Converse employees, claimed they were required to undergo off-the-clock security checks.
The U.S. Department of Labor offers guidance on compensable working time under federal law, but employers may need to consider applicable state and local mandates, too.