Labor Law -- 2014



Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk   (U.S. Supreme Court)

Whether security screening time is compensable work

On June 4th the NAM filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court in Integrity Staffing v. Busk. This case presents the question of whether routine post shift security screenings of employees are compensable under the FLSA. Such screenings are conducted by many employers, as in this case, to help prevent theft. The resolution of this case could also have an effect on the compensability of the entire broad range of pre and post-shift screenings, conducted by employers to ensure the security of employers’ property and the safety of employees and the public. Until the 9th Circuit’s decision, employers have been able to rely on a uniform body of case law holding that security screenings are not compensable under the Portal-to-Portal Act of 1947, 29 U.S.C. §§ 251-262, as applied by this Court and regulations adopted by the Department of Labor.

The Ninth Circuit’s decision undermines the decades-old understanding of the Portal-to-Portal Act as interpreted by the Supreme Court in Steiner and Alvarez and by the Department of Labor. In holding time spent in post-shift security screenings to be compensable, the Ninth Circuit incorrectly applied the well-established “integral and indispensable” test and instead developed a new approach based on its view that the screenings were compulsory and done for the employer’s benefit. In so ruling, the court did away with the requirement under the Portal-to-Portal Act of a close and intertwined relationship between the productive work for which an employee is hired and the activity for which the employee seeks additional compensation. The court’s rule would disrupt established workplace practices imposing an unwieldy test that has already increased litigation. The Solicitor General has also filed an amicus brief in the case supporting the legal arguments raised by Petitioner and the NAM brief.

On December 9, 2014 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require employers to compensate employees for the time spent in security checks before and after the work day. The ruling reversed a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and reinforces arguments asserted in the amicus brief filed by the NAM and a coalition of industry groups.


Related Documents:
NAM brief  (June 4, 2014)
NAM brief  (November 7, 2013)

 


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