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Dec 2014
11
December 11, 2014

U.S. Supreme Court: Post-Shift Security Screenings Are Not Compensable Time Under the FLSA


In its unanimous Dec. 9 decision in Integrity Staffing Solutions v Busk, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that under the circumstances of this particular case, the 25 minutes spent daily in mandatory post-shift, anti-theft security screenings by hourly employees at an Amazon.com warehouse was not compensable time under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).

The ruling stemmed from a lawsuit that temporary workers filed against Integrity Staffing Solutions Inc., which Amazon.com uses to staff warehouses across the country.

The portal-to-portal amendments to the FLSA provide that an employer does not have to count as hours worked “activities which are preliminary or postliminary to [an employee’s] principal activity or activities.”  (29 U.S.C. 254 [a]).  The phrase “principal activity or activities” has been defined in prior Supreme Court cases as including all activities which are an “integral and indispensable part of the principal activities.” 

The Court determined that the primary activities of the employees at issue here were to retrieve products from warehouse shelves and package them for shipment. The security screenings were not the principal activity for which these employees were paid, and were not “integral and indispensable” to their principal activities. The Court concluded that the time spent by these workers waiting for and submitting to these post-shift security screens was not compensable time and the employees were thus not entitled to pay, including overtime pay, for that time.

The ruling could have a significant impact, particularly in retail and warehouse facilities where security screenings are frequently utilized to prevent theft.

Contact your Labor and Employment attorney at Warner Norcross & Judd for more information on how this ruling could affect your business.  If you have questions about this specific case, contact Kevin McCarthy at kmccarthy@wnj.com or 269.276.8109.

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