The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously ruled in Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk that post-shift security screenings are not a principal activity of warehouse workers’ jobs and, as such, time spent during them is not compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Integrity Staffing Solutions employed the hourly warehouse workers who fulfilled orders for customers of Amazon.com. These nonexempt employees “retrieved products from warehouse shelves and packaged them for delivery to Amazon.com customers.” After each shift, the workers spent approximately 25 minutes in line and being searched for security purposes. A group of former employees sued, stating that they were entitled to compensation for that time.
Pursuant to the FLSA, employees are entitled to compensation for “the performance of the principal activities that an employee is employed to perform.” Here, the court stated that the security screenings were not a principal activity of the job because the workers were not employed to undergo security screenings. Rather, they were employed to “retrieve products from warehouse shelves and package those products for shipment to Amazon customers.”
Employees are also entitled to pay for time spent on actions that are not principal activities of employment but are nonetheless “integral and indispensable” to them. An integral and indispensable activity is one that the “employee cannot dispense of if he is to perform his principal activities.” Here, the Court ruled that the security screenings were not integral and indispensable to the job’s principal activities because the warehouse workers could perform their job functions fully even if the security screenings were stopped.
This case provides a clarification about compensable time that is helpful for employers. MSEC will continue to update our members on important case law as it is issued.