SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A three judge panel of the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over most of the western States, issued an opinion today in the case of Busk v. Integrity Staffing Solutions, (case no. 11-16892) reversing Las Vegas Judge Roger Hunt of the United States District Court for Nevada, and holding that warehouse employees employed at Amazon.com’s many warehouse locations throughout Nevada (and presumably nationwide) must be paid for the time spent waiting in line to go through the employer mandated security clearance procedures at the end of the day. The Court distinguished the procedure for undergoing security clearances at Amazon’s facilities from other cases that have held that time spent at security check points on the way into (rather than out of) a facility is for the benefit of the general public. The Court of Appeals upheld the District Court’s conclusion that employees did not have to be paid for the time spent going through security clearance on the way to lunch, but suggested if the lunch time was shortened to the point that the employees could not enjoy their full lunch break, then the employees might be entitled to compensation for the entire period allowed. The court also remanded the case to the District Court to consider whether such lunch time was compensable under Nevada state law. On a procedural note, the Court of Appeals held that the case could be bought both as a class action under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and as a representative action under the Fair Labor Standards Act in the same lawsuit.
In this case, Mark Thierman and Joshua Buck of the Thierman Law Firm of Reno, Nevada represented Jesse Busk and Laurie Castro on behalf of all the employees of Integrity Staffing Solutions, a national temporary employment company which claims on its website to supply workers to thousands of clients in Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Rick D. Roskelley, Roger Grandgenett and Cory Walker of Littler Mendelson in Las Vegas represented the employer. District Court Judge Roger Hunt originally ruled that the employer did not have to pay thousands of employees who worked at Amazon’s warehouse for the approximately 25 minutes each day the employees had to stand in line to go through a security check point before leaving work. The Ninth Circuit reversed the lower court because the employees credibly alleged that the purpose of the security clearance at the end of the shift was to prevent theft, which the Ninth Circuit opinion stated was for the benefit of the employer and thus makes it part of the employees' work related duties and compensable.
“We couldn’t be more pleased with the decision of the Court of Appeals,” said attorney Joshua Buck who argued the case on the appellate level. Buck estimates that nationally, hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of people employed as warehouse workers waste 20 to 30 minutes every day just waiting in line to leave work because their employer makes them go though some sort of security check to prevent inventory theft. “This case is not just about money, it’s about respecting the time of the workers,” said attorney Mark R. Thierman, the lead trial attorney in the case and who assisted in the appeal. “If the employer knows it has to pay for the time that it requires these workers stand in line waiting to leave a plant or facility, the employer will hire more security personnel, open up more checkpoints, and be more respectful of an employee’s time, because ultimately, it’ll come out of their bottom line.” Thierman concluded. The case was remanded to the District Court for further proceedings including trial.