Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Unanimous Supreme Court Rejects FLSA Claim for Time Spent in Mandatory Security Screenings

The Supreme Court has ruled, in a 9-0 decision, that employees working at an warehouse are not entitled to compensation for time spent waiting to complete mandatory security screenings following their shifts.  The Court explained that to be compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the activity at issue must be "integral and indispensable" to the principal activities that the employee is employed to perform.  In this case, the security screenings -- which could take as long as 25 minutes -- did not meet that test.  As Justice Sotomayor explained in a concurring opinion, the primary job of the employees (working in the warehouse) could be safely performed without the security screenings, unlike the case of a battery plant worker, who could not safely perform the job without taking time to put on (and then take off) protective gear, in which case that time would be compensable.

This decision further clarifies the circumstances in which tasks required before and/or after performing work are compensable, and will impact a number pending FLSA class actions relying on similar theories.

--Jonathan Nadler

--Jon Nadler

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