Paul DeCamp, Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s Washington, DC office, was quoted in the Bloomberg BNA Daily Labor Report, in “Apple Case Shows Federal-State Split on Security Screening Pay,” by Robert Iafolla.
Following is an excerpt:
The California Supreme Court’s ruling Thursday that Apple Inc. must pay store workers for time spent in anti-theft security checks when they leave work highlights a legal issue that’s settled at the federal level but continues to develop as a matter of state law.
Retail, warehouse, and shipping company workers have pressed state law wage claims in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2014 that created a high bar for proving that those screenings should be compensated under federal law. A federal appeals court subsequently said that security screening time can straightforwardly be considered paid work under Arizona and Nevada law, while Kentucky law applies the same exacting test as federal law.
The question is also pending at the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and New Jersey federal court, which are poised to further clarify state law requirements for security screening time.
The potential for state law liability for unpaid security checks could fuel further worker lawsuits and prompt employers to reassess their policies for screening workers as they enter or exit the workplace.
“In light of the way case law has been developing, whether or not an employer is in a jurisdiction that treats security screening and bag checks as compensable time, employers would still be well advised to look for ways to reduce the burden on employees,” said Paul DeCamp, co-chair of management-side firm Epstein Becker & Green’s national wage and hour group.
Companies may want to consider shortening the amount of time security checks take or eliminating them all together, said DeCamp, who led the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division during the George W. Bush administration. How companies handle security screening has implications for compensation costs as well as worker morale, he said.