Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) warehouse workers have sued the company claiming that they have to be compensated for the half hour security searches they undergo after their shift ends. The hearing of the case will occur today at 10 AM in the Supreme Court. Greg Stohr reported about the case from the steps of the Supreme Court, Washington on Bloomberg Surveillance.
Stohr said that defining compensable work is complicated as the Supreme Court has altered its meaning and scope multiple times over the years. He explained that while tasks such as walking from the vehicle to the workplace is not compensable, if the job involved putting on protective gear, then the time taken to suit up is compensable.
Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) requires its warehouse workers to go through a thirty-minute security check at the end of their shift to ascertain that they have not purloined anything. “This is a new question for the court, they never had to consider security screenings in this context,” he said referring to the Amazon case which hinges on whether or not security checks are compensable. Stohr stated that this is a negative and antagonistic view of labor.
“There is a lot of money at stake too, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) employs hundreds of thousands of workers over the years and there is a lot of turnover,” he said.
If the Court rules in favor of the workers, Amazon will have to compensate over 400,000 workers. The back pay alone could set the online retailer back by $100 million.
Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) might not be the only major company to take a discriminatory view on its workers. Stohr mentioned the lawsuit against UPS which is expected to go to court in December. The company ruled that pregnancy would be treated similar to an off-the-job injury and it will not make any accommodations for pregnant employees, such as exempting them from lifting heavy boxes. Hence, such employees were forced to take unpaid leave.
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