THIS WILL BE A SHORT BLOG SINCE OUR WEBSITE IS STILL IN A BIT OF A TRANSITION. I WANTED TO CLARIFY TODAY’S SUPREME COURT DECISION REGARDING THE STAFFING COMPANY, INTEGRATED STAFFING SOLUTIONS, AND AMAZON.COM EMPLOYEES.
YESTERDAY, THE SUPREME COURT ISSUED A ‘LANDMARK’ 9-0 DECISION HOLDING THAT EMPLOYEES’ TIME SPENT WAITING FOR AND UNDERGOING SECURITY SCREENING AFTER THEIR SHIFTS HAVE ENDED IS NOT COMPENSABLE UNDER THE FAIR LABOR STANDARDS ACT (FLSA). THIS RULING REVERSED THE U.S. COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT’S DECISION….THE COURT HELD THAT SECURITY SCREENING WAS NEITHER A ‘PRINCIPAL ACTIVITY’ THAT THE WORKERS WERE EMPLOYED TO PERFORM NOR ‘INTEGRAL AND INDISPENSABLE’ TO THEIR PRINCIPAL ACTIVITIES. THE SUPREME COURT HELD THAT FOR ACTIVITIES TO BE COMPENSABLE, THEY MUST BE AN ‘INTRINSIC ELEMENT’ OF THE ‘PRINCIPAL ACTIVITIES THAT AN EMPLOYEE IS EMPLOYED TO PERFORM’ AND ‘ONE WITH WHICH THE EMPLOYEE CANNOT DISPENSE IF HE/SHE IS TO PERFORM HIS/HER PRINCIPAL ACTIVITIES.
The Obama Administration sided with the employers in this lawsuit and the major implications of this decision are that this will extend beyond cases that involve security clearances. It will become a focal point of all litigation that addresses whether preliminary and postliminary activities are compensable under the FLSA. The concern is that by defining an ‘integral and indispensable’ activity as one that is ‘an intrinsic element’ of the employee’s principal activity, the Court has provided litigants and lower courts with a clearer standard by which to measure whether activities such as booting up a computer, entering a password, or logging in to a hand-held device to download work assignments remotely are compensable under the FLSA…..
….however, we already know that whether the time taken to boot that computer, enter that password or log into that hand-held device to download work assignments remotely are compensable, doing the actual ‘work’ after that ‘initial’ period is completed IS compensable.
I have a personal/professional concern here having known a few employers who would arbitrarily decide 'which' work their employees performed would be paid or who felt that their business account could not 'afford' the work performed because they needed the money in the 'piggy bank' for their many personal activities…. some businesses will pay very expensive attorneys who spend their professional careers finding ‘legal’ ways that their clients do not have to pay employees for time worked….however, most employers are honorable and pay for all time worked, as required by law.
So, all of the employers reading this please take note: work performed needs to be compensated, in all regards…but, compensation for work performed was never an issue in this lawsuit.
Please also note that this ruling is a federal ruling; state courts still need to rule in this matter and the outcome may be totally different.
If you have any questions regarding compensation for your workers/employees, it is always best to err on the side of payment to the employee/worker…along with payment to the State and Federal entities of all taxes, when they are due. If you still have questions, please contact Rosanne Bennett at SCB Services, LLC at 484-798-1236 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.