Decision is victory for employers using security checks.
In a unanimous opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that warehouse workers do not have to be paid for time spent going through anti-theft security screenings at the end of their work day. Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk, No. 13-433 (S.Ct. Dec. 9, 2014). In doing so, the Court reversed a lower court ruling that the time was compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) because it was “necessary” to the employees’ primary work and done solely for the benefit of their employer.
The Company required its hourly warehouse workers, who retrieved and packaged products for delivery to Amazon customers, to undergo an anti-theft security screening before leaving the warehouse each day. Employees claimed they should be paid for the roughly 25 minutes each day they spent going through the required security screenings.
The Supreme Court held that the time employees spent waiting to undergo and undergoing the security screenings is not compensable under the FLSA. In doing so, the Court observed that the screenings were not the principal activities employees were hired to perform. Rather, they were employed not to undergo security screenings but to retrieve products from warehouse shelves and package them for shipping. As a result, the time spent going through the security screenings was not compensable under the FLSA.
The case is important because it clarifies that security screenings and other pre- and post-shift screenings required to maintain a safe and theft-free working environment generally will not be compensable under the FLSA.
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Thomas R. Bagby
Labor and Employment Practice Group