The United States Supreme Court issued an opinion this morning allowing a company to conduct security screenings without compensating employees. Workers for Integrity Staffing Solutions retrieved boxes at a warehouse in Fernley, Nevada, and packaged them for delivery to Amazon.com customers. Before leaving the warehouse each day they were subjected to a security screening, and some waited in line for 25 minutes before exiting. Workers contended that they should be compensated for that time.
The Portal to Portal Act exempts as "work" those activities that are preliminary or postliminary to the performance of the principal activities of the job. Principal activities are those which are integral and indispensable to the job function.
The Supreme Court concluded that the activity of waiting in a security check-out line was not an integral part of the employees' job of packaging products for delivery.
Would the result be the same if a court was reviewing the issue under California law? I have my doubts. In our state, the law defines "hours worked" as the time a worker is subject to the control of the employer. Being forced to stand in line for 25 minutes is probably time that California workers are subject to the control of the employer.
Interested in reading the case? Here is the link to Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/13-433_5h26.pdf