United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
IN RE AMAZON.COM, INC., FULFILLMENT CENTER FAIR LABOR STANDARDS ACT (FLSA) AND WAGE AND HOUR LITIGATION THIS DOCUMENT RELATES TO: Saldana, et al.
Amazon.com, LLC, et al., No. 3:14-cv-290-DJH Master File No. 3:14-md-2504
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
J. HALE, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Robertson, the sole remaining plaintiff in this case, seeks
compensation under California law from Defendants Amazon.com,
LLC and Golden State FC, LLC, for time she spent undergoing
or waiting to undergo security screenings at the Amazon
facility where she worked. Amazon and Golden State have moved
for summary judgment on Robertson's claims, arguing that
time related to security checks is not compensable as
“hours worked” under California's labor law.
(Docket No. 64; see D.N. 64-1, PageID # 933-39) In
the alternative, Amazon and Golden State contend that the
time spent on the searches was de minimis and is therefore
noncompensable. (D.N. 64-1, PageID # 939-43) Because
Robertson has failed to show that there are “hours
worked” for which she was not paid, the defendants'
motion for summary judgment will be granted.
following facts are undisputed. Robertson was employed by
Amazon for approximately three months in late 2013 at an
Amazon fulfillment center in San Bernardino, California.
(D.N. 64-8, PageID # 960) She had worked there previously in
2013 and 2012 as a temporary employee of SMX,
prevent theft, Amazon required all employees to walk through
a metal detector on their way out of the building. (D.N.
64-3, PageID # 950-51; D.N. 64-8, PageID # 975) Of the ten
metal detectors at the facility, four were “express
lanes” for employees not carrying bags or metal
objects. (D.N. 64-3, PageID # 951) Passing through security
without personal items added no time to employees' exit
from the building. (D.N. 64-8, PageID # 1012; D.N. 64-10,
PageID # 1022; D.N. 64-11, PageID # 1026; D.N. 64-12, PageID
# 1029-30) Employees carrying bags or metal objects had to
send those items down a ramp and were subject to search.
(D.N. 64-8, PageID # 1008-10; D.N. 64-10, PageID # 1022; D.N.
64-11, PageID # 1125-26) Robertson was not required to carry
any items through security that would have set off the metal
detectors. (D.N. 64-8, PageID # 988-90) Lockers were
available to employees outside the secure area; however,
Robertson chose to carry her keys through security every day.
(D.N. 64-8, PageID # 961-63) She also opted to leave the
secure area for lunch and rest breaks although the interior
break rooms had microwaves, vending machines, and
refrigerators. (D.N. 64-8, PageID # 996-1000)
judgment is required when the moving party shows, using
evidence in the record, “that there is no genuine
dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a);
see 56(c)(1). For purposes of summary judgment, the
Court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to
the nonmoving party. Loyd v. Saint Joseph Mercy
Oakland, 766 F.3d 580, 588 (6th Cir. 2014) (citing
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255
(1986)). However, the Court “need consider only the
cited materials.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(3); see Shreve
v. Franklin Cty., Ohio, 743 F.3d 126, 136 (6th Cir.
2014). If the nonmoving party “fails to properly
support an assertion of fact or fails to properly address
another party's assertion of fact as required by Rule
56(c), ” the fact may be treated as undisputed.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(2)-(3). To survive a motion for summary
judgment, the nonmoving party must establish a genuine issue
of material fact with respect to each element of each of her
claims. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317,
322-23 (1986) (noting that “a complete failure of proof
concerning an essential element of the nonmoving party's
case necessarily renders all other facts immaterial”).
purposes of the present motion, the primary dispute is
whether time spent in security screenings amounts to
“hours worked” under California law.
(See D.N. 64-1, PageID # 933; D.N. 78, PageID #
1309) The relevant California wage order defines “hours
worked” as “the time during which an employee is
subject to the control of an employer, and includes all the
time the employee is suffered or permitted to work, whether
or not required to do so.” Cal. Code Regs. tit. 8,
§ 11040 (2017). A plaintiff may prove her entitlement to
compensation under either the “control” prong or
the “suffered or permitted” prong of the
definition. See Morillion v. Royal Packing Co., 995
P.2d 139, 143 (Cal. 2000).
United States District Court for the Northern District of
California recently applied the “hours worked”
definition in a case involving facts similar to those
presented here. In Frlekin v. Apple Inc., No. C
13-03451, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151937 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 7,
2015), the plaintiffs
s[ought] compensation for time spent undergoing exit searches
pursuant to Apple's bag-search and technology-card search
policies and for time spent waiting for such searches to
occur. These searches occurred when employees left the
premises with a bag, purse, backpack, or briefcase, or with
an Apple product, such as an iPhone.
Id. at *4. After clocking out, plaintiffs with a bag
or Apple device had to find a manager or security guard to
conduct the search before they could leave the store.
Id. at *5-*7.
thorough, well-reasoned opinion, the Frlekin court
granted summary judgment for Apple. After reviewing relevant
California law, the court concluded that the searches were
not mandatory, since the “plaintiffs could all freely
choose not to bring bags to work, thereby avoiding
Apple's restrictions during exit searches, ” and
thus the plaintiffs were not entitled to compensation under
the “control” prong. Id. at *30; see
Id. at *10-*30. Moreover, because the plaintiffs
“merely passively endured” the searches and
“[n]either the searches nor waiting for them to be
completed had any relationship to the[ plaintiffs'] job
responsibilities, ” the searches were not compensable
under the “suffered or permitted” prong.
Id. at *35.
maintains that Frlekin is distinguishable. Unlike
Apple's bag searches, she argues, Amazon's security
screenings were mandatory for all employees; everyone had to
pass through security before exiting the building. (D.N. 78,
PageID # 1324-26) It is undisputed, however, that although
everyone had to walk through a metal detector, employees who
did not carry bags or metal objects passed through the metal
detectors with no delay. (See D.N. 64-8, PageID #
1012; D.N. 64-10, PageID # 1022; D.N. 64-11, PageID # 1026;
D.N. 64-12, PageID # 1029-30) Robertson chose to bring her
keys into the secure area with her. (D.N. 64-8, PageID #
962-63) She also chose to leave the secure area during meal
and rest breaks, taking her keys with her. (Id.;
see id., PageID # 996-1000) Like the plaintiffs in
Frlekin, Robertson and other Amazon employees had an
option for avoiding any delay related to security checks:
leave personal items outside the secure area. Cf.
2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151937 at *30.
acknowledges that Amazon employees had a choice as to
“which line they had to pass through, ” and she
offers no evidence to rebut the defendants' proof
concerning the express-lane option. (D.N. 78, PageID # 1323)
Indeed, she offers ...