Time spent in security check of employees is not related to Principal Work and hence not compensable

Supreme Court of United States: In an appeal against decision of the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in a class action suit the Court reversed the judgment in relevant parts holding that the time spent by employees in waiting for and undergoing, security check falls under ambit of postliminary activity and thus not compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 1938 (FLSA). The respondents Jesse Busk and Laurie Castro, employees of Integrity Staffing Solutions Limited, which provided staffing solutions for warehouses of Amazon.com, on behalf of similarly employed workers, had appealed that workers of Infinity Solutions had to wait for 25 minutes for the employer security check before leaving warehouse at the end of the day, since the same was done for employer’s and customer’s benefit so they were entitled to compensation under FLSA for waiting and undergoing security check.

The Court held that FLSA as after enactment of Portal-to-Portal Act exempted employers from compensating workers for preliminary or postliminary activities related to principal activities. Principal activities included those activities which were indispensable and integral for completion of principal activity. Security screening is not principal activity as in, the Integrity Solutions did not employ its workers to undergo security check, but to retrieve products from warehouse shelf, and package those products for shipment, thus the security check was not integral to principle activity as the employer would have done away with it without hampering the productivity of workers. The Court citing the Opinion Letter issued by the Department of Labor in 1951, stated that the explanation is in sync with regulations of Department and that the intention of legislature in enacting Portal-to-Portal Act was to prevent such activities in sweeping in as principal activities. Sotomayor, J. gave a concurring opinion with Kagan, J. joining with majority judgment delivered by Thomas, J. Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk, 2014 SCC OnLine US SC 4, decided on 9.12.2014

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