09 December 2014

Law in Plain English: Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk

This is one in a series of posts designed to describe court decisions in plain English. For more detail and background on the legal issues, see the link to the case below. For similar posts, click here.

SCOTUSblogIntegrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk

Argument: Oct 8 2014 (Aud.)

Background: Jesse Busk and Laurie Castro are former employees of Integrity Staffing Solutions, which provides warehouse space and staffing to clients such as Amazon.com. Busk and Castro sued Integrity under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA, as amended by the Portal-to-Portal Act) for requiring its employees to pass through a security clearance area at the end of each shift without being compensated for that time. The district court ruled for Integrity, holding (based on cases from two other circuits) that the time spent clearing security was not compensable. The Ninth Circuit reversed, finding that because Integrity required the security screenings to prevent employee theft, the time could be considered 1) necessary to the principal work performed and 2) done for the benefit of the employer.

Issue: The question before the Court is whether time spent in security screenings is compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act, as amended by the Portal-to-Portal Act.

Holding: In a unanimous opinion, the Supreme Court ruled that the time that respondents spent waiting to undergo and undergoing security screenings is not compensable under the FLSA because the screenings at issue were noncompensable postliminary activities as defined by the Portal-to-Portal Act.
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