A judge in California has signed off on a $4.5 million settlement in a 2018 class action lawsuit, which alleged that Walgreens failed to pay non-exempt workers at a distribution center for the time that was spent in pre-and post-shift security checks. The lawsuit stated that the company essentially rounded downtime on employees’ timecards and failed to pay premium wages to employees who were denied rest breaks required under California law. About 2,600 workers will split the net settlement of $2.8 million. Each individual participant in this class-action lawsuit will receive about $1,200.
Lawsuits Involving Security Checks
A number of employers in California have been taken to court over their bag check policies including Apple. In this state, wage and hour laws are stronger than at the federal level. In September 2020, a three-judge panel at the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that employees at Apple retail stores must be paid for the time they spend having their bags searched.
Dick’s Sporting Goods also paid nearly $3 million in a class action lawsuit comprising almost 11,000 current and former employees in California who said they were required to go off-the-clock for security checks. Other similar lawsuits from workers at Nike and Converse have also been allowed to move forward.
In some cases, employers have been able to argue that the time spent in mandatory bag checks is so minimal that it has to be negligible for pay purposes. However, in Apple’s case, the court found that employees were sometimes detained for a considerable length of time for the employer’s benefit and therefore, should be compensated for that time.
The Issue of Fair Wages
These class action lawsuits raise a crucial point. They emphasize the fact that workers must be compensated for any time they spend that is to the employer’s benefit. In such cases, the matter to be determined is whether the time spent by workers waiting to be searched is time that is compensable. As California employment lawyers, our goal is to help ensure that employers are paying workers fair wages – wages that they rightfully earned.
If you believe that your employer failed to pay you wages that are due, it is important that you contact an experienced California employment attorney to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights. If you believe that other workers in your company are also being shortchanged, a class-action lawsuit might be the right course of action.