Amazon employees are feeling underpaid and overtimed so much so that a lawsuit against the company is being heard at the Supreme Court. What is happening is that Amazon has a security checkpoint for workers leaving their warehouse that ensures no one is stealing items. However, according to the employees, if you are in the back of the line it can take up to 25 minutes to get through the security checkpoint. The employees claim they should be paid for it. The company claims it isn’t integral to their job so overtime pay is not required based on previous laws on the books.
I see it differently. If you are requiring an hourly employee to stay at work with no control over their leaving, then they should be paid for it. However, there is a limit. If I am an employee who works in a call center and my employer requires me to be logged onto my computer and ready to take calls at my scheduled start time I have no problem with it. Or if I am expected to put on a uniform after arriving to work, I have no problem with that. In both cases I can control how soon or late I show up to work to be on time. When that control is put in the hands of the company I work for and the time becomes egregious, then I have an issue and then it makes the task integral to the job. 5-10 minutes is the maximum any company should keep you from leaving through security checks. To their credit Amazon has said they have increased their security and the flow of egress has improved.
While I think Amazon was in the wrong in this case, I don’t think this should open up the floodgates, as some have predicted, that all non specific work activities should be paid for. Guess it depends on how the Supreme Court rules and writes their decision.