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Supreme Court Decides FLSA Issue

On December 9, 2014, the United States Supreme Court held in Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk, No. 13-433 (December 9, 2014), that employees do not have to be compensated for time spent waiting for and undergoing security screenings at the end of their shifts. Hourly employees at Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. claimed that this time should be considered working time under the Fair Labor Standards Act, as amended by the Portal-to-Portal Act.

The Portal-to-Portal Act provides that activities performed before or after the workday that are preliminary or postliminary to the employee’s principal activities are not compensable. To determine whether activities are compensable, a court must analyze whether the activities are an integral and indispensable part of the employee’s principal activities. Here, the employees picked and packed products from warehouse shelves. The Court first held that the screenings were not principal activities of these employees. It then held that the screenings were not integral and indispensable to the work. In other words, if the screenings did not occur, the employees still would be able to perform their work.

This is the second time in the past year that the Supreme Court has addressed a Portal-to-Portal issue. Previously, in Sandifer v. United States Steel Corp., No. 12-417 (January 27, 2014), the Court held that union employees at United States Steel Corporation did not have to be paid for time spent donning and doffing clothes and equipment for their jobs, because this time was excluded from being considered work time by the parties’ collective bargaining agreement.

What Does This Mean For You? If you require employees to perform activities before or after their work, you should assess the activities carefully to determine if they are compensable. This can be a tricky analysis, and a wrong decision can result in large back pay awards and penalties.

If you need help with determining whether any employee duties are compensable or have any questions, please contact S. Whitney Rahman at (717) 509-7237 or at swr@blakingerthomas.com

This update is provided for informational purposes only and should not be
construed as legal advice or as creating an attorney-client relationship
where one does not already exist.