The United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Buck, which revolves around whether activities are “integral and indispensable” (and so compensable) or “preliminary or postliminary” (and so not). Integrity Staffing provides warehouse workers on a contract basis to its clients. The employees in question filled orders for retail goods.

At the end of the their shifts, they had to pass through security screening stations designed to reduce employee theft. The plaintiffs claimed lines for the stations sometimes required waits of up to 25 minutes, time for which they sought compensation. After the District Court in Nevada dismissed the case, the Ninth Circuit reversed, using a 2-pronged test to determine whether the screening (and the wait) were “integral and indispensable,” namely (1) whether it was “necessary to the principal work performed” and (2) “done for the benefit of the employer.” In applying the test, the Ninth Circuit concluded that — since the screening was not required of all employees (it was required only of those who had access to merchandise) — there was a sufficient issue as to whether it was “necessary” to the work of filling orders. In agreeing to hear the case, the Supreme Court will have the opportunity to clarify how to determine whether activities occurring at the beginning or end of an employee’s workday are “integral and indispensable” to an employee’s principal work.