Busk, et. al. v. Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. and Amazon.com, Inc., Case No. 2:10-cv-01854-RLH-NJK (filed D. Nev. Oct. 22, 2010)

This is a nationwide collective and class action that seeks to recover unpaid wages for Amazon.com warehouse workers who had to undergo mandatory security clearances before leaving the warehouse facility and were not compensated for that time.

 

amazon-warehouseWere you hired to work at an Amazon.com warehouse? If yes, you may have a claim for unpaid wages depending on where you worked. Please contact us to find out more.

From KOLO-TV: An employee at an Amazon distribution center is part of a growing lawsuit against the retail giant. Lawyers allege Amazon is not paying overtime for all hours worked. Thousands of Amazon employees across the nation have to go through security check-points after they have clocked out for the day.

CONTACT US TO JOIN THIS CLASS ACTION


The original complaint was filed against Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc., on October 22, 2010, in the Nevada federal district court. The district court judge dismissed our entire case on the grounds that Integrity and Amazon.com did not have to compensate employees for time spent undergoing the employer mandated security clearances.  We appealed and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with our position. In doing so, the Ninth Circuit held that,

[Plaintiffs] have alleged that Integrity Staffing Solutions requires the security screenings, which must be conducted at work. They also allege that the screenings are intended to prevent employee theft — a plausible allegation since the employees apparently pass through the clearances only on their way out of work, not when they enter. As alleged, the security clearances are necessary to employees’ primary work as warehouse employees and done for Integrity’s benefit. Assuming, as we must, that these allegations are true, the plaintiffs have stated a plausible claim for relief.

A copy of the 9th Circuit’s opinion is attached.

Integrity then sought and was granted writ of certiorari before the United States Supreme Court. On October 8, 2014, we argued before the Supreme Court that these security checks were compensable under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The Supreme Court held, in a 9-0 decision, that security clearances, such as the ones conducted by Integrity are not compensable because they are post-liminary activities under the Portal-to-Portal Act. (The Portal-to-Portal Act is subsequent remedial legislation clarifying the FLSA.)

However, the Supreme Court did not discuss nor did it decide any issues of Nevada state law. Again, the Integrity opinion is premised on the concept that undergoing security clearances is work under the FLSA, but within the carve out for compensability of preliminary and post-liminary activities under the Portal-to-Portal Act. Nevada does not have a statute comparable to the federal Portal-to-Portal Act, nor does California, Washington, Arizona, and almost all states that have their own wage hour laws.

What this means is that the state law claims have yet to be decided. Based on the Supreme Court’s decision the Ninth Circuit remanded the case back to the district court for further proceedings to decide whether or not state law provides for compensation to employees who are required to go through security clearances.

For an explanation of the arguments made at the Supreme Court please see, Thierman’s Supreme Court Arguments Explained and the related news stories in the In The News section of this Web site.

The District Court dismissed Plaintiffs’ claims following the United States Supreme Court’s decision that security checks are not compensable under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act by way of the Portal-to-Portal Act. The District Court reasoned that because the checks are not compensable under federal law, Plaintiffs’ state law claims must fail as well.  However, Plaintiffs’ allege that Nevada and Arizona state law does not follow the FLSA in this respect, does not have similar Portal-to-Portal Act commands, and thus, have appealed the District Court’s decision. This appeal is pending.

For more information about the case, please see the related case files that are attached.