RENO, Nev.--An employee at the Fernley Amazon distribution center is part of a growing lawsuit against the retail giant. Lawyers allege Amazon is not paying overtime for all hours worked. Thousands of Amazon employees across the nation have to go through security check-points after they have clocked out for the day.
When there is a shift change at Amazon, thousands of employee's are leaving all at once. Security checkpoints get backed up and people wait in line for up to a half hour, the whole time they are not getting paid.
There is no question why Amazon.com keeps their security tight; the company handles millions of dollars worth of iPod's, laptops, and other high ticket items every day.
"They have access to all types of goods, little things they can put in their pocket or whatever. Amazon has the right to protect its property, we don't complain about that," said Mark Thierman, a Reno lawyer who is handling the class action lawsuit.
Theirman has a history of winning overtime lawsuits. In the past he's collected over three-quarters of a billion dollars for his class action clients. Three years ago he set his sights on Amazon.
"There are approximately 38-thousand employees per day that go through that security. 15 minutes a day, they deserve compensation. Minimum wage at least," said Thierman.
The problem is in the fact that employees are forced to clock out before going though security. One could argue they're not getting paid for time worked.
"These security clearances are like when you go to the airport. take off your belt take off your shoes, send them through a conveyor system," said Josh Buck, Thierman's law partner.
Theirman's law partner Josh Buck explains the screening process is quick. It's the waiting in line that takes time. During a shift change, up to 3,000 people are put through just few security checkpoints.
"It gets a bottleneck, and effectively, if you have one person go through and it beeps and they have to go through again and they have to get wanded, it delays the whole process," said Buck.
The lawyers just want Amazon to pay time owed to employees and move the time clocks beyond the security check points so this is not a problem again.
A Vegas district court judge previously ruled Amazon's practice was legal, but in an appeal to the 9th Circuit Court, judges sided with Amazon employees. The case now either goes back to district court or it will be appealed to the supreme court before a final decision is made.
KOLO 8 News Now reached out to Amazon Thursday, but they do not comment on pending litigation.