Amazon has lost a lawsuit over whether it has to pay employees for time their bags were being searched, to the tune of $13.5 million.
At the heart of the issue was whether time spent in security lines, waiting for bag checks, counted as time worked. Obviously, Amazon was arguing it did not, and only the time actually spent working should count.
“Employees are only paid for their labor — to pack boxes, but not to stand at a security checkpoint, which does not involve labor or toil,” argued Amazon’s lawyer, according to Business Insider.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court disagreed, ruling 5-2 that employees should be compensated for that time.
“The PMWA plainly and unambiguously requires payment for ‘all hours worked,’ … signifying the legislature’s intent that any portion of the hours worked by an employee does not constitute a mere trifle,” Justice Debra Todd wrote.
Amazon will now pay some 42,000 workers a total of $8.67 million, while the attorneys will receive an additional $4.5 million in fees. The single biggest payout among the 42,000 is $5,760.
The decision is a big loss for Amazon, and follows another settlementwith the FTC, in which the company was found to have stiffed its delivery drivers a whopping $62 million in tips. This latest case is sure to add even more fuel to recent Teamsters’ efforts to unionize Amazon workers.