INTEGRITY STAFFING SOLUTIONS, INC. v. BUSK
Jesse Busk and Laurie Castro were former employees of Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. (Integrity), a company that provides warehouse space and staffing to clients such as Amazon.com. Busk and Laurie both worked in warehouses in Nevada filling orders placed by Amazon.com customers. At the end of each day, all the workers were required to pass through a security clearance checkpoint where they had to remove their keys, wallets, and belts, pass through a metal detector, and submit to being searched. The whole process could take up to 25 minutes. Similarly, up to ten minutes of the workers’ 30-minute lunch period was consumed by security clearance and transition time. In 2010, Busk and Castro sued Integrity and argued that these practices violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) as well as Nevada state labor laws.
The district court granted Integrity’s motion to dismiss and held that time spent clearing security was non-compensable under the FLSA and that the shortened meal periods were not relevant to the FLSA because the plaintiffs did not argue that they performed work-related duties during their lunch periods. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part. While the Court of Appeals agreed that the shortened lunch periods were not relevant to the FLSA, the Court of Appeals held that the district court should have assessed the plaintiffs claims that the security clearances were “integral and indispensable” to their work in order to determine if that time was compensable.
Is time spent undergoing security clearances compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act as amended by the Portal-to-Portal Act of 1947?