Amazon warehouse employees in multiple states, including Pennsylvania, have filed lawsuits against Amazon, claiming that they've been short-changed. The lawsuits collectively allege that Amazon has a policy of requiring workers to wait in line for security metal detectors without being paid, The Morning Call reports.
These suits also come on the heels of earlier complaints against Amazon for certain employee theft-prevention practices that allegedly violate state and federal labor laws.
What can employers legally do about employee theft, and is compensation required for the employees who have to wait to pass through anti-theft checkpoints?
Preventing Employee Theft
First off, how can employers legally prevent theft? Here are a few ways to do so, without breaking any laws:
- Ensure that proper rules and procedures for trash pickup are in place
- Install surveillance cameras at in most company common areas -- excluding the restrooms
- Make sure that cash receipts are deposited daily
- Make sure that your business always conducts proper background checks when hiring, watching out for potential employees with a history of theft.
FLSA Wage and Overtime Requirements
What about paying employees for waiting in line at an anti-theft security check point? Under the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA), all covered employees must be paid for all hours worked in a work week. This requirement includes the time that an employee is on the employer's premises during work hours.
The FLSA is likely to require payment for the time that the employee spends waiting in line before and after his or her shift to go through a security checkpoint -- especially if it is mandated by an employer's policies.
On top of that, if the additional 10-20 (or however number of) minutes tacked on to each day from waiting exceeds 40 hours in a workweek, then the employee is owed overtime at whatever the state's rate is -- usually time-and-a-half or double.
- More Amazon Warehouse Workers Sue Retailer Over Unpaid Security Waits (The Huffington Post)
- Top 5 FLSA & Overtime Rules for Employers (FindLaw's Free Enterprise)
- 5 Tips on How to Handle Employee Theft (FindLaw's Free Enterprise)
- Apple Sued Over Employee Bag Searches (FindLaw's Free Enterprise)