In what is yet another blow to employees and another victory for employers, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that employees do not have to be paid for time they spend in anti-theft screenings following their shift.
The case Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk, et al., involved temporary workers at Amazon warehouses in Nevada who were employed by staffing agency Integrity Staffing Solutions. At the end of their shift, warehouse workers are required to clock out and then stand in line to be screened in order to prevent employee theft. According to court documents, workers had to stand in line for up to 25 minutes as they passed through only two metal detectors. They were not paid for the time spent in line or being screened.
The Court examined the Portal to Portal Act, which modified the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), to determine if the time was compensable. They determined that compensation is necessary only if the time spent is “integral” and “indispensable” to the “principal activities” an employee is hired to perform. The Court found that the workers were hired to retrieve items and package them, not go through screenings, therefore the security screenings were not principal activities. The Court further held that the screenings were not integral and indispensable; if Integrity Solutions eliminated the screenings the workers’ jobs would not be impacted.
While the Supreme Court’s decision is clearly a blow to employees, it does not mean that all employees required to engage in activities prior to, or following, their shift will not be compensated. For example, in Steiner v. Mitchell, the Supreme Court found that time spent showering and changing clothes by battery-plant employees was compensable. The Court determined that since the chemicals in batteries are toxic, the time spent showering and changing clothes was indispensable to the employees’ work.
If you believe that you are not being compensated properly or that you are being discriminated against in the workplace, contact Philadelphia employment lawyers at The Ezold Law Firm at 610-660-5585 or submit an online contact form.