Wage and hour case re pay to workers during security screenings

| Mar 6, 2014 | Wage And Hour Law |

The United States Supreme Court will hear a wage and hour to decide whether time spent in security screenings is compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), as amended by the Portal-to-Portal Act. The case is called Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk.

The FLSA wage and hour laws, as amended by the Portal-to-Portal Act of 1947, generally precludes compensation for activities that are “preliminary” or “postliminary” to the “principal activity or activities” that the employee “is employed to perform.” 29 U.S.C. § 254(a). But preliminary and postliminary activities are still compensable under the Portal-to-Portal Act if they are “integral and indispensable” to an employee’s principal activities.

To be “integral and indispensable,” an activity must be (1) “necessary to the principal work performed” and (2) “done for the benefit of the employer.” Alvarez v. IBP, Inc., 339 F.3d 894, 902-03 (9th Cir.2003), aff’d on other grounds, 546 U.S. 21, 126 S.Ct. 514, 163 L.Ed.2d 288 (2005).

Cases have held that changing clothes and showering were “integral and indispensable” to producing batteries, putting on and taking off protective gear was necessary to the principal work of employees at a meat packing plant because the gear was required by the employer’s rules, by federal regulators, and by the nature of the work, donning and doffing uniforms was compensable when company required employees to change on premises to avoid contaminating silicon chips manufactured there. Bamonte v. City of Mesa, 598 F.3d 1217 (9th Cir.2010) held that donning and doffing police uniforms was not necessary to police officers’ principal work because they could change at home and chose to do so at work for their own benefit.

In the case to be decided by Supreme Court, workers have alleged that Integrity requires the security screenings, which must be conducted at work. They also allege that the screenings are intended to prevent employee theft- found by the Circuit Court to be a plausible allegation since the employees apparently pass through the clearances only on their way out of work, not when they enter. 

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