In an important decision under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Supreme Court has issued a ruling in Busk v. Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. in favor of employers. As previously discussed in October, the Court had to determine whether employers are required to pay their hourly employees for time spent going through an anti-theft security clearance at the end of each shift.
Justice Clarence Thomas authored the opinion of the Court, which reversed the Ninth Circuit’s determination that such time was compensable. Justices Sotomayor and Kagan submitted a concurring opinion joining the majority.
The Supreme Court held that going through security is not integral and indispensable to the principal activities that the employee is employed to perform. In this case, Integrity Staffing employed individuals to retrieve products from warehouse shelves and package those products for shipment to Amazon customers. Going through security at the end of a shift is not a part of the warehouse employees’ principal duties.
The Court further noted that whether an employee is required to undergo a particular activity is not determinative of whether the employee must be compensated for the time it takes to undergo the activity. The “integral and indispensable” test is tied to the productive work that the employee is employed to perform and not whether the activity is mandatory.
Based on this ruling, employers may require their hourly employees to go through security clearance for loss prevention purposes and not compensate them for the time they must do so after their shifts.