U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Arguments in Important FLSA Security Screenings Case

supreme courtBy:  TIMOTHY C. HAUGHEE

MARCH 6, 2014

Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it would hear oral arguments in Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk, a case in which the Supreme Court will decide whether time spent by employees undergoing security screenings is compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).

The class-action case was brought by warehouse workers who seek back pay (including overtime pay) and additional damages from their employer pursuant to the FLSA for time spent in security screenings after the end of their work shifts.  We previously wrote about a similar case involving security screenings conducted by Apple, Inc. against its Apple Store employees.

In the briefs submitted to the Supreme Court in Busk, the petitioner/employer acknowledges that some federal appellate courts (including the federal appellate court with jurisdiction over appeals originating from Florida) have held that security screenings conducted before or after work shifts are non-compensable because they are not “integral and indispensable” to the workers’ principal job activities, while another federal appellate court has ruled that such screenings were compensable because they are “necessary to the primary work” of the employees.  As a result of the conflicting appellate court decisions, the Supreme Court will decide the compensability of the time spent by employees during security screenings.

If the Supreme Court rules that time spent conducting security screenings is compensable, then employers will need to maintain accurate records of the time spent by such employees during the security screens and pay the employees for that time pursuant to the FLSA, including any overtime pay at the applicable rate.

We will continue to provide timely updates regarding this important case as it develops.

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