LOUISVILLE — Two Pennsylvania wage-and-hour lawsuits are allowed to go forward with their discovery stage after a Kentucky federal judge lifted the stay on their case. The lawsuits, brought by Pennsylvania Amazon.com Inc. warehouse workers, claim the online retail giant violated Pennsylvania’s Minimum Wage Act (PMWA) when it failed to pay workers for their time spent during and waiting in line for post-shift anti-theft security screenings. This failure to pay resulted in a loss of pay and potentially denied overtime wages.
The Amazon Lawsuits
There is currently a multi-district litigation (MDL) for the large number of class action lawsuits against Amazon. The lawsuits collectively claim Amazon violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by not paying employees for the mandatory post-shift anti-theft security screening procedures at its warehouses and fulfillment centers. The Supreme Court will be hearing and deciding one of these cases, Busk v. Integrity Staffing. Because the Supreme Court’s decision will have a significant impact on the other Amazon-FLSA lawsuits, and potentially other wage-and-hour lawsuits, the other cases in the MDL are currently stayed, or on hold. The lower courts and the parties involved in the MDL cases hope the Supreme Court’s decision will clarify whether the FLSA applies to time spent in post-shift security screenings. But until the Court makes its ruling, none of the FLSA cases will go forward so as to prevent duplication of efforts in discovery and in court proceedings.
The Pennsylvania Cases
Since the two Pennsylvania cases only claim state law violations and will presumably not be affected by the Supreme Court ruling, the federal judge decided to lift the stay. However, the condition of lifting the stay is that the discovery is limited to the two fulfillment centers’ operations and to facts specifically related to the two lawsuits. The judge did note that later discovery may be needed for other pending cases at the two fulfillment centers if the FLSA claim is approved by the Supreme Court.
Multi District Litigation
The reason a Kentucky federal judge was able to lift the stay on the two Pennsylvania cases is because the cases were part of the MDL. When federal courts are faced with multiple, complex cases with one or more common questions of fact, but are in different districts, the courts will combine all of the cases into an MDL and all of the cases will be sent to one court, in this case in Kentucky, to speed up the discovery process and pretrial proceedings. The object is to resolve as many cases as efficiently as possible; unresolved cases are returned to the original court.
If you are or were an Amazon warehouse employee or your employer does not pay you for mandatory security screening time, you may be entitled to overtime or back wages. Call our top-rated team of overtime pay lawyers today at (855) 754-2795 to discuss your situation. Alternatively, complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form and our experienced legal team will evaluate your case. If we accept your case, we will represent you under our No Fee Promise. This means there are no legal fees or costs unless you receive a settlement. However, there are strict time deadlines for filing lawsuits so it is important to contact an attorney immediately.