Legal troubles revolving around whether or not employees should be compensated for their time in security check lines at shipping fulfillment centers has undoubtedly been a headache for and its staffing agencies. Now the issue is moving all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, with the Justices agreeing on Mar. 3 to weigh in on the issue.

The case, Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc v. Jesse Busk and Laurie Castro, began in Nevada where temp employees at Amazon staffing contractor Integrity Staffing Solutions complained that security bag checks out of the building where taking up to 30 minutes daily, and only benefitted Amazon.

Plaintiffs alleged that during that time they were not clocked-in and therefore not paid. The initial complaint, filed in 2010, argued that the under the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA)they should be paid during those checks.

Integrity attempted to have the case thrown out, but was rebuffed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit which ruled that the suit could move forward.

Reuter’s reports that in a brief to the court, Integrity wrote, “Security screenings are indistinguishable from many other tasks that have been found non-compensable under the FLSA, such as waiting to punch in and out on the time clock, walking from the parking lot to the work place, waiting to pick up a paycheck, or waiting to pick up protective gear before donning it for a work shift.”

Worker representatives have unsurprisingly sided with the District court’s opinion, and hope that the SCOTUS will also allow the suit to proceed.

Since the complaint was filed, workers at other Amazon fulfillment centers have stepped forward with a number of suits against both Amazon and its staffing partners, alleging that they were unpaid for time spent dealing with security. A decision in this case could have wide ranging implications on how these cases and other similar cases will go forward.


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Labor & Employment Digest: March 2014