Two Guardian reporters have gone undercover at the Sports Direct warehouse and exposed the company's heavy-handed approach to its treatment of agency workers. In particular, all staff are searched at the end of each shift (including having to show their socks and the waistband of their underwear) to check for stolen sports-wear. In light of the recent European case, there's a good argument that the time spent undergoing this rather invasive search amounts to working time and the Unions are arguing the workers should be paid for it. It's not the first time that Sports Direct's employment practises are in the spotlight, and it probably won't be the last.
All warehouse workers are kept onsite at the end of each shift in order to undergo a compulsory search by Sports Direct security staff, with the experience of the Guardian reporters suggesting this typically adds another hour and 15 minutes to the working week – which is unpaid. The discovery raises questions of whether such practices are within the law relating to the minimum wage. Lawyers said that paying workers for going through compulsory security checks had never been specifically tested under European law, but they added that a recent ruling by the European court of justice on the working time directive, which related to technicians travelling to customers’ premises to install equipment, appeared applicable to the policies employed in Sports Direct’s warehouse.