On September 2, 2020, the Ninth Circuit federal appeals court ruled that Apple is required to compensate workers for time spent in anti-theft security screenings following their shifts. This follows a February 2020 ruling by the California Supreme Court that workers are entitled to pay for this extra time because during the 5-20 minutes workers are required to wait and undergo the searches, the workers are under Apple’s control and are burdened by not being able to leave the premises and being required to take certain actions during the search.
The Ninth Circuit has previously made similar rulings against Nike and Converse, finding that they must pay workers for similar anti-theft checks. The California Supreme Court has likewise found in other cases that workers must be paid for time when they are off-the-clock if they are still under their employers’ control.
In 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the FLSA – the federal minimum wage and overtime law – did not cover similar security screenings. The Supreme Court found that security screenings were not compensable because they were not the primary tasks of the employees and were not “integral and indispensable” to their primary tasks. Since that time, however, numerous courts have affirmed that the wage and hour laws of several states, including Nevada, Arizona, New Jersey and California offer broader protections for workers required to undergo security screenings.
Security screenings are one of many “preliminary and postliminary” activities that employers often require of employees—but companies often do not pay for this time. State and federal courts employ a variety of tests to determine whether such time is compensable, including who benefits from the activity, how much an employee is restricted during such activities, and how closely related the activity is to the employee’s primary job functions.
If you are required to perform certain tasks before or after your shift but are not paid for this time, contact Pelton Graham for a free, confidential consultation.