Last week, the Supreme Court ruled that federal law does not require that warehouse workers who package goods for Amazon be paid for the time they spend going through mandatory security screenings at the end of their shifts. These warehouse workers are required to go through a screening process—which is intended to prevent theft and can sometimes take as long as 25 minutes—before they are permitted to leave for the day. The Court ruled that the workers are not legally entitled to be paid for that time. Predictably, there has been strong reaction to the ruling, with some calling it a slap in the face to America’s blue-collar workers and others calling on Congress to change the law.
Despite the strong reaction, the Supreme Court’s decision in the Amazon warehouse workers case might have little impact in Maryland and other states with similar labor laws. Although the decision is the final word on the issue under federal law, it does not dictate state law. In Maryland, state law would likely require an employer to pay employees for time spent in mandatory security screenings and other mandatory, onsite tasks. This post will give an overview of the Supreme Court’s decision and look at how Maryland state law differs.