NELA Amicus Briefs

NELA Amicus Brief: Heimbach v. Amazon (Supreme Court of Pennsylvania) 

03-30-2020 06:56 PM

On March 6, 2020, NELA joined our Western and Eastern Pennsylvania Affiliates, AFL-CIO, National Employment Law Project, SEIU, UFCWIU, Justice At Work, and Towards Justice in filing an amicus brief in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania on behalf of the Appellants in Heimbach v. Amazon (No. 43 EAP 2019). Appellants are a class of men and women who engage daily in grueling work in Amazon’s Pennsylvania warehouses. At the end of each day, workers are required to use their personal, unpaid time to undergo Amazon’s mandated security screenings before they can leave the premises. This brief asks the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania to confirm that Pennsylvania’s Minimum Wage Act (“PMWA”) is more protective than the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), the current federal floor for workplace protections, therefore ensuring that Amazon pays their workers for required screenings completed onsite. Amazon and its numerous staffing agencies have argued that they may rely solely on federal workplace laws, including the FLSA and Portal-To-Portal Act (PPA), in calculating labor costs and imposing its labor compensation practices. Additionally, Amazon asks the court to import the de minimis doctrine, which allows employers to avoid paying workers for “infrequent and insignificant periods of time beyond the scheduled working hours, which cannot as a practical matter be precisely recorded for payroll purposes.” As the brief states “Importing the PPA and the de minimis rule into the PMWA would have an exceptionally negative impact on Pennsylvania’s low-wage workers, who already face significant wage violations from employers seeking to race to the bottom by reducing labor costs in service of their bottom lines.” NELA is very grateful to Doris J. Dabrowski (PA) who took the lead in drafting NELA’s portion of the brief, and NELA member Sarah Schalman-Bergen (PA) and Michaela Wallin (PA) from Berger Montague who coordinated the drafting and filing of the brief.

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Heimbach v. Amazon Final Docketed Brief (3.6.2020).pdf   267 KB   1 version
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