Amazon.com Services LLC has no obligation to pay fulfillment center employees for time spent undergoing mandatory Covid-19 screenings, which benefits the general public, the company said in a motion to dismiss the claim. ” a possible class action lawsuit filed in the Eastern District of California.
Required screenings, conducted in accordance with government regulations and guidelines, not only for employees but for all visitors, do not constitute compensable âworkâ under the Fair Labor Standards Act, as they are not primarily for the benefit of Amazon says Thursday’s motion. According to Amazon, the projections benefit everyone, and its benefit is only incidental.
Even though they’re considered work-related, pre-shift health checks are “preliminary” to their core business, Amazon argues, comparing them to security checks that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled non-compensable under of the Fair Labor Standards Act in Integrity Staffing Sols. Inc. v. Busk.
Amazon acknowledges that an informal FAQ published by the Labor Department’s Wages and Hours division states that for some employees, “a temperature check before starting work must be paid as it is necessary for their job.”
But according to Amazon, while screenings may be necessary for health-focused patient-oriented jobs, they are not necessary for its warehouse workers, and the advice does not in any way warrant a high degree of deference.
The complainants also fail to allege that “the screenings themselves take an appreciable amount of time,” Amazon said. The wait time is clearly not compensable, the company says, but plaintiffs’ estimates of 10 to 15 minutes have reduced the time it takes to find and wait together.
Amazon makes similar arguments to challenge the plaintiffs’ claims for unpaid wages and overtime under state law.
Amazon distinguishes Frlekin v. Apple Inc., where a California court ruled that time spent in security checks was compensable under state laws.
First, security checks were implemented to prevent theft and were, therefore, primarily for the benefit of the employer, according to Amazon. And second, employees were not allowed to leave work until the checks were completed and were subject to a higher degree of intrusion and control, he adds.
Amazon says the plaintiffs’ additional claims related to inaccurate wage claims and payment of wages owed upon release fail because, among other things, they are derived from other unsustainable claims.
The case is in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California.
Amazon is represented by Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP. The applicants are represented by Hodges & Foty LLP and Parmet PC.
The case is Boone v. Amazon.com Services LLC, ED Cal., # 1: 21-cv-00241, motion to dismiss 6/3/21.