In Integrity Staffing Solutions Inc. v. Busk, the U.S. Supreme Court held employees were not entitled to compensation under the FLSA for time spent passing through security check points after their shifts. In this case, two warehouse employees responsible for packaging and shipping products to customers filed a class action seeking compensation for time spent in mandatory, post-shift security screenings.
In a unanimous decision reversing the Ninth Circuit, the Court stated that under the Portal-to-Portal Act, post-shift duties that are not integral and indispensable to the employee’s principal activities are non-compensable under the FLSA. The Court found that the employer’s requirement to be screened for security reasons after a shift was over was not integral to the duties of packaging and shipping products, and were more akin to waiting in line to receive pay checks after a shift had ended. The Court also rejected the Ninth Circuit’s focus on whether the time spent was required by or a benefit to the employer, stating the FLSA uses a different standard for compensability, i.e., whether the activity is integral and indispensable to the work. The Court also rejected arguments out of hand that an employer had a duty under the FLSA to limit the time spent in such check points to a de minimus amount of time, stating that was a bargaining issue between the workers and the employer but does not make the time compensable under the FLSA.
This is welcome news for employers and provides an employer-friendly standard for compensable post-shift duties under the FLSA such as anti-theft and security screenings. Pending claims around the country are now likely to be dismissed, and U.S. employers can now re-visit their compensation practices for post-shift duties using the Court’s standard as a guidepost.
Nationwide employers should take note of state law requirements for compensability, however, as some states have their own labor laws that can require payment for any time spent on activities required by the employer, even if they are post-shift activities.