Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

On July 21, 2021, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled in a class action lawsuit filed against Amazon.com that time spent on an employer’s premises waiting to undergo, and undergoing, mandatory security screening constituted “hours worked” within the meaning of the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act (PMWA).

This case arose out of a class action lawsuit for unpaid wages brought under the PMWA by two employees who worked at Amazon’s “logistics facility/fulfillment center” located in a warehouse in Breinigsville, Pennsylvania, where hourly employees clocked in and out on time clocks at the beginning and end of their shifts.

After clocking out at the end of their shifts, employees were required to undergo antitheft security screening, which included metal detectors, searches of bags, and a secondary screening process if the metal detector’s alarm sounded. Employees and Amazon disagree as to the amount of time this screening took on average.

The employees filed a class action lawsuit against Amazon in 2013, claiming they were entitled to compensation for unpaid time spent in security screenings under the PMWA. The case ended up before the Philadelphia Supreme Court to decide whether security screenings were compensable as “hours worked” under the PMWA.

The Philadelphia Supreme Court ruled that since Amazon required employees to remain on their premises at the warehouse until the security screenings were complete, all time spent by the employees waiting to undergo, and undergoing, the security screenings constituted “hours worked” within the meaning of the PMWA.

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