“No Overtime” for after-work security check at workplace: Supreme Court

A case argued in October 2014 was finally decided on December 9, 2014. The case of Integrity Staffing Solutions Inc. vs. Jesse Buck, No. 13-433, 190 L. Ed. 2d 410; 2014 U.S. LEXIS 8293 involved an issue as to whether the time spent by warehouse employees waiting to undergo and undergoing post shift security screenings could be considered as payable in accordance with Fair Labor Standards Act. The employer wanted the employees to undergo an antitheft screening before leaving the premises each day. The question within the minds of employees was whether the time spent waiting to undergo such a screening was compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), 29 U. S. C. §201 et seq., as amended by the Portal-to-Portal Act of 1947, §251 et seq..

The Supreme Court of the Unites States of America came down to two conclusions:

First, that the required security screenings were not considered as integral and indispensable in comparison to another physical activity the employees were employed to perform. If the screening was somewhere related to the principal work that the employees were asked to perform then it would have been a compensable task and would have been payable under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), 29 U. S. C. §201 et seq., as amended by the Portal-to-Portal Act of 1947, §251 et seq..

Second, the Court held that the screenings were not themselves considered as principal activities that the employees were obligated to perform. As the statute’s use of the words ‘preliminary’ and ‘postliminary’ in §254(a)(2), the precedents make clear that the Portal-to-Portal Act of 1947 is primarily concerned with defining the beginning and end of the workday. It distinguishes between activities that are essentially part of the ingress and egress process, on one hand, and activities that constitute the actual “work of consequence performed for an employer,” on the other hand. The security screening falls on the preliminary and postliminary side of the line. The searches that were done were a part of the process and did not include any principal work. Therefore, if the employees had to stand in line to get the screening done, it did not turn out to be compensable in nature and not in accordance with the FLSA.

The Supreme Court of the United States made an easy victory in favor of the employers by giving no compensation to the employees under FLSA.

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