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Supreme Court rules Amazon doesn’t have to pay workers for security-screening time


New York - The Supreme Court handed out a victory to Amazon and other employers when it ruled unanimously on Tuesday that a temp agency was not required to pay workers at Amazon warehouses in Nevada for the time they spent waiting for and undergoing security checks at the end of their shifts.

The court reversed a lower court ruling from last year which had allowed the workers to sue under the theory that since their screening time was required by the employer, it should be compensated.

In Tuesday’s ruling, the court, in an unanimous opinion by Justice Clarence Thomas, said the workers could not sue to get paid for security checks because the time they spent waiting to be screened wasn't an “integral and indispensable” part of their jobs.

The Supreme Court said the third party that hired the employees did not specifically hire them to stand in lines, so it's not considered an integral part of their job. Federal law exempts employers from paying for work-related activities that happen before or after work.

The case was brought by Jesse Busk and Laurie Castro, who worked at two different Amazon warehouses in Nevada. They sued temp agency Integrity Staffing Solutions, seeking to represent a class of workers and to be paid for the time it took to undergo the security screening. They claimed they had to wait in long lines for the checks. Amazon, however, said their were exaggerated.

"The allegations in this case were simply not true -- data shows that employees typically walk through security with little or no wait, and Amazon has a global process that ensures the time employees spend waiting in security is less than 90 seconds," an Amazon spokeswoman said in a statement following the ruling.

The ruling is likely to benefit other companies, including CVS Health Corp. and Apple, which are facing similar lawsuits. And four other cases have been filed against Amazon, seeking compensation for nearly 100,000 workers, according to the AP.
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