From labor disputes cases to labor and employment publications, for your research, you’ll find solutions on Bloomberg Law®. Protect your clients by developing strategies based on Litigation...
Workers in Amazon.com Inc. warehouses who fulfill customers’ orders don’t have to be paid for time spent going through security screens at the end of their shifts ( In re Amazon.com, Inc., Fulfillment Ctr. Fair Labor Standards & Wage & Hour Litig. , 2017 BL 192124, W.D. Ky., No. 14-139, 6/7/17 ).
A federal district court in Kentucky June 7 dismissed the workers’ claims that Amazon and Integrity Staffing Solutions Inc. may be liable under Nevada or Arizona state law for not paying workers for time in mandatory security checks before leaving their workplaces.
Federal law sets a floor, not a ceiling, on minimum wage and overtime pay protections for covered employees. States can enact laws that provide workers with greater protections. States with laws that track the Fair Labor Standards Act’s language, however, often follow court and agency interpretations of federal law in applying state law.
The U.S. Supreme Court in 2014 ruled that Amazon warehouse workers employed by Integrity Staffing lacked Fair Labor Standards Act claims because the time spent to clear security was noncompensable under federal law.
The workers here fare no better on their pay claims under a Nevada statute, the Nevada state constitution, or an Arizona minimum wage regulation, Judge David J. Hale wrote for the federal district court in Kentucky.
Attorney Mark Thierman, who represents the workers, said he plans to appeal. He might ask the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit to send some issues to the Arizona Supreme Court, which would have greater expertise on interpreting its own state law, Thierman told Bloomberg BNA June 8.
Some workers’ claims under California wage and hour law against Integrity Staffing and Amazon still are pending in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, said Thierman of the Thierman Law Firm in Reno, Nevada.
A number of lawsuits challenging Amazon’s pay practices for workers in its fulfillment centers nationwide have been consolidated in the federal district court in Kentucky. Staffing agencies that supply workers to Amazon, such as Integrity, also are named as defendants. Amazon was added as a named defendant on the Integrity Staffing workers’ state law claims after the Supreme Court dismissed the federal claims.
A related case also is pending against Amazon in a Washington state court, Thierman said.
Nevada courts in deciding wage-and-hour issues generally “look to federal law” unless the state law’s language is “materially different” from or “inconsistent” with the FLSA, the court said.
There’s “no indication” the Nevada state courts “would reject the Supreme Court’s reasoning as to whether time spent on security screening is compensable,” Hale said. “There is no material difference between Nevada statutes and the FLSA on this point, and Nevada courts look to federal wage-and-hour law where state precedent is lacking.”
The workers argued the companies’ failure to pay them for “all hours worked,” including time spent in the security screening, violated an Arizona minimum wage regulation.
But the court said the Arizona law should be interpreted consistently with the FLSA. No violation occurs if employees receive at least the hourly minimum wage calculated over a standard workweek, the court said.
Attorneys for Amazon and Integrity Staffing weren’t immediately available for comment June 8.
Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, Fisher & Phillips LLP, and Dinsmore & Shohl LLP represented Amazon. Littler Mendelson PC represented Integrity Staffing Solutions.
To contact the reporter on this story: Kevin McGowan in Washington at email@example.com
Text of the opinion is available at http://www.bloomberglaw.com/public/document/In_re_Amazoncom_Inc_Fulfillment_Ctr_Fair_Labor_Standards_Act__Wag?doc_id=X1G5TVPA0000N.
Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)