Nike retail employees required to undergo post-clockout, pre-exit bag and coat checks are not entitled to compensation under California’s wage and hour laws for the time spent on such inspections, a federal district court has ruled. Rodriguez v. Nike Retail Services, Inc., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147762 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 12, 2017). Assuming such inspections are considered compensable time worked, they nevertheless must require enough of the employees’ time such that the time is not considered de minimis, that is, too short or insubstantial to require employers to track and pay for it.
But that same data may not only be used by the employer but also can actually defeat a case altogether, as a recent decision from the Northern District of California illustrates.In Rodriguez v. Nike Retail Services, Inc., Case No. 14-cv-01508-BLF (N.D. Cal. Sept. 12, 2017), the plaintiffs were hourly employees working at California Nike retail shoe stores. At the end of each working day, they were required to go through bag checks intended to reduce internal theft.
Last week, we discussed the decision of the Northern District of California in Rodriguez v. Nike Retail Services, Inc., Case No. 14-cv-01508-BLF (N.D. Cal. Sept. 12, 2017), in which the employer’s use of a time study resulted in summary judgment being granted against the entire class in an off-the-clock case involving post-shift bag searches. That court has now issued a similar decision, Chavez v. Converse, Inc., Case No. 15-cv-03746 NC (N.D. Cal., Oct. 11, 2017), involving a different shoe retailer.Like the Rodriguez case, this one involved a shoe store that required employees departing at the end of their shifts to submit to bag searches designed to deter employee theft.
In both cases, the district court granted summary judgment to the employer, holding the federal de minimis doctrine applied to the plaintiffs’ claims under the California Labor Code and the time spent on the inspections was not significant enough to render the time compensable. Rodriguez v. Nike Retail Services, Inc., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147762 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 12, 2017); Chavez v. Converse, Inc., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169167 (N.D. Cal. Oct. 11, 2017). Both of these rulings, however, were based on the law at the time, under which courts (including the Ninth Circuit) still recognized the federal de minimis doctrine.