This week, multiple class actions lawsuits were filed against Amazon.com by employees at distribution facilities claiming that they are forced to wait in long security lines to enter and exit the workplace, all without pay. The employees claimed that their 30 minute lunch periods are eaten up by these long wait times, and thus are not bonafide meal periods. Given the number of employees already participating in the lawsuits, and the large army of warehouse workers employed by Amazon, this is likely to be an expensive and high profile battle.
These types of suits are not new, but few cases have received the type of publicity this one has garnered. For a sample of the news stories, click here.
In the oil and gas industry in Texas, several courts have dismissed similar suits arguing that waiting in lines going through security checkpoints should be compensable new balance casual shoes. In these cases, the employer was able to argue that the security procedures had benefits beyond just reducing theft of company product (i.e. public safety). This new lawsuit against Amazon is one to watch. If a court finds such waiting time to be compensable, the floodgates will open and copycat lawsuits will be filed all across the country.