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Where Does the Workday End?

Published:  March 6, 2014

The time for which an employee must be compensated isn’t simply the time they spend working. Among other requirements, the Fair Labor and Standards Act (FLSA) demands that employees are paid for all time during which they are required to be on the premises, on duty, or at a prescribed workplace. Among this non-work time that must be paid may include trainings, orientations, donning protective gear, washing hands, and other activities that do not directly benefit the employer. Soon, we will know if time spent being screened by security falls in the must-be-compensated category or not.

Currently courts have decided both ways on the issue of if time going through security is time working. Recently, a staffing company serving clients such as had a lawsuit filed against it by employees for alleged violations of the FLSA by not compensating employees for the time they are required to spend going through a security screening at the end of each shift. The Court of Appeals held that since these security screenings were being done as employees left work they were clearly designed to prevent theft and as such they were “integral and indispensable” to the company’s principle activities. The Appeals’ Court further held that such “integral and indispensable” activities are compensable.

As other courts have found very differently on this issue a Supreme Court decision will be welcomed as clarifying a currently uncertain issue. Unfortunately, this company is facing a large penalty for possibly violating an undecided rule. For this reason, it is very important to seek advice from employment counsel if there is any question about if an employee should be paid for certain time he or she is required to be on the premises.

If you have any questions regarding the Fair Labor and Standards Act, please contact any of the attorneys at Royal LLP at (413) 586-2288.