Plaintiff Khadijah Robertson, on behalf of a class of 200,000 similarly situated warehouse employees in California, reached a settlement agreement with Amazon to resolve claims that the fulfillment center employees were not paid for time spent completing security screenings before and after their shifts. Amazon agreed to pay $11 million to resolve the California class’ claims brought pursuant to provisions of the California Labor Code and Industrial Wage Commission Orders.
Plaintiff initially brought the lawsuit in the federal Western District of Kentucky in 2013 but dismissed the action in 2017, and at the time of the settlement agreement, Plaintiff’s appeal was pending in the Sixth Circuit. During the pendency of the appeal, Plaintiff submitted notice of a related California Supreme Court case involving Apple employees. In Frlekin v. Apple Inc., the California Supreme Court determined that time spent waiting to complete pre- and post-shift security screenings was “compensable time” pursuant to the California Labor Code and Industrial Wage Orders.
Amazon responded to Plaintiff’s notice of the Frlekin case, and argued that the Amazon fulfillment center employees had a different experience than the Apple employees in Frlekin. Namely, Amazon contended that it did not compel its workers to perform certain duties during their exits and actually maintained express lanes and provided on-site lockers such that Amazon employees could leave working areas unimpeded.
Regardless of the alleged differences, Amazon entered into the settlement agreement to resolve the class claims. In today’s economy, pre- and post-shift security screenings for employees are commonplace, especially among tech companies. While federal courts have not been as employee-friendly in assessing whether post-shift security screenings constitute “compensable time” under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act, California has shown that state law can step in to ensure employees receive pay for completing tasks required of them by their employers.
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Author: Michael Ols