In another unanimous opinion, the Supreme Court ruled that time spent by warehouse workers undergoing security screenings was non-compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The time spent on the screenings did not constitute a “principal activity” nor was it “integral and indispensable” to the workers’ other principal activities. Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk, No. 13-433 (Dec. 9, 2014).
The Court explained that an activity is “integral and indispensable” only if it is an “intrinsic element of those [other principal] activities and one with which the employee cannot dispense if he is to perform his principal activities.” Undergoing a security screening was not an intrinsic element of the workers’ principal activities of pulling products from warehouse shelves and packing them for shipment, and the security screenings were not “indispensable” to their work because the employer could have eliminated the security screenings without impairing the employees’ ability to complete their work, the Court said.
In reaching its decision, the Supreme Court rejected the test used by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, which looked only at whether the duty was required and performed for the benefit of the employer. The Court also rejected the argument that security screenings should be treated differently than safety screenings, saying neither was compensable under the Portalto-Portal Act.