When Should Employees Be Paid For Pre- and Post-Shift Time?

This past week the United States Supreme Court heard argument on a potentially significant Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) case. The lawsuit, Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk, involves whether employees who are required to stand in a security clearance line for their employer’s benefit must be compensated. Even though the case only concerns security checks, how the Supreme Court rules on this case may impact whether employees must be paid for other pre- and post-shift activities.

Pursuant to the FLSA, employers must pay workers for all time worked, and all non-exempt employees must be paid overtime compensation at a rate of one and one-half their standard rate of pay for time worked over 40 hours in any work week. If you have questions about the FLSA, it’s important to consult with an experienced Georgia wage and hour attorney right away.

In this instance, former hourly employees of a staffing company worked at warehouses filling orders for Amazon.com customers. The workers allegedly were required to pass through security clearance without compensation, in potential violation of the FLSA. According to the lawsuit, the employees had to wait up to 25 minutes to proceed through the clearance process which included removing wallets, belts and keys, and passing through a metal detector.

A central issue in this lawsuit is what constitutes compensable “work.” The Supreme Court has previously determined that pre- and post – shift activities are not compensable unless they are “integral and indispensable.” “Integral and indispensable” have been defined to be those activities that are so closely related to the employees’ other duties that they are an integral part of those duties and, therefore, included among their principal activities.The outcome of this case could potentially affect many other employees in a wide variety of jobs – especially those where employees are required to submit to security related tasks.

For more information or if you have any wage and hour questions, please contact the top Atlanta wage and hour lawyers at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for an immediate case evaluation.