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PA Supreme Court to Amazon: Security Screening Time Must be Paid

Amazon ordered to pay warehouse employees for security screening timeIn a 5-2 ruling, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ordered that Amazon must pay its employees for the time they spent waiting in line to be screened by security at the end of their shifts. The ruling comes as a result of a lawsuit brought by two warehouse workers in 2013 who alleged that the departure screenings would routinely add 10 to 20 minutes to the workers’ days but since they’d already clocked out before reaching the security line, the time was unpaid. Over time, these overages added up to a considerable amount of additional time at work that the workers felt they should have been compensated for.

The plaintiffs’ attorney was very pleased with the ruling, saying that “the court’s holding regarding the compensability of security screenings is based on the principle that employers must pay workers for time associated with mandatory activities arising on the premises. This principal strikes most people as common sense, so it is terrific to see the rule legitimized by the court.”

The case is just one in a very long line of lawsuits brought against Amazon for its treatment of its workforce, and the security screening issue was just one way the online shopping juggernaut was getting extra time out of its warehouse workers for free. A lawsuit filed this past April in California alleged that warehouse employees were routinely forced to miss their lunch breaks, either in part or in full. Workers allege being told to take a break “when they could get it,” while others remained tethered to the warehouse floor by two-way radios which they were expected to answer even while technically not being on duty.

Once celebrated as an icon of what was possible with internet-based shopping, the company now appears to be the embodiment of worker mistreatment in America. And, if its behavior online is any indication, the corporation has no intention of changing on its own.