Pay for Waiting in Line?

In Integrity Staffing Solutions v. Busk, the United States Supreme Court denied workers’ claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for pay for nearly 25 minutes spent each day waiting in line after work to leave the employer’s facility.

In this Amazon.com warehouse, the staffing company employees are required, after clocking out, to empty their pockets and go through metal detectors before leaving for the day.  Applying the Portal-to-Portal Act, under which time is compensated only if it is part of the principal activity of the employee, the Court found the time spent in line to be noncompensable postliminary activity—meaning no pay for employees for that time.

The Court helpfully suggested the workers raise their claim at the bargaining table instead of in Federal court.

This ruling is limited only to cases under the FLSA.  If your state has a more comprehensive definition of “time worked,” which is the case in California, the time is likely compensable.  In California, time spent under the control of the employer is compensable.

For questions regarding time worked or this case, contact your labor law counsel.

By Caren Sencer | December 11, 2014

Legal Developments