Best Ohio Wage and Hour Attorney Answer: Can I sue my employer for my overtime pay? My employer makes all of its employees go through a security checkpoint before we take a lunch break and doing this takes away ten minutes of our 30 minute lunch break. Shouldn’t we get paid for the lost ten minutes? Can my company require me to spend time in line at a security check after I have clocked out for the day?
As our overtime law attorneys have blogged about wage theft in the past, employers must pay all employees, with a few exceptions, at a rate equal to or greater than the federal minimum wage for all time worked. Precisely defining when an employee begins and ends her workday can be difficult, though, as workers are frequently required to perform duties that, while related to their jobs, are conducted off the clock.
Certain tasks related to one’s job are clearly not compensable. For example, while most of us would likely appreciate it if our employers pay us for our commute, very few of us are getting monthly check reimbursing us for bus fare or the time spent on the bus. The Portal-to-Portal Act of 1947 amended the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA“) and explicitly stated that time spent on certain activities related to employment, including travelling to or from the place of employment, is not compensable.
Other activities are a closer call, though. What about workers whose jobs require that they wear special protective gear? Should the time it takes a worker in a battery factory to don protective clothing be compensated? What about the time it takes a worker to walk from the area where the protective clothing is donned to her workstation? The answer to both of those questions is yes. The Supreme Court of the United States has repeatedly held that employees should be compensated for time spent on activities that are “integral and indispensable” to the employee’s job.
The Roberts Court recently issued a ruling that makes clear that “integral and indispensable” is to be construed as narrowly as possible. That is, the simple fact that one’s employer mandates an employee perform a job related task does not necessarily mean that the task is “integral” or “indispensable.” In Integrity Staffing Solutions Inc. v. Busk, a unanimous Court held that time spent by warehouse workers waiting in line to go through a security checkpoint before they could leave the building is not time for which the employer must compensate those employees.
The employees in the case were required to go through a security line every day at the end of their shifts prior to leaving company property. This process sometimes took as long as a half hour. That means that for up to ten hours a month these employees waited in line, because their employer required it as part of their job, and were not paid for it.
Essentially, the Court reasoned that a determination of whether an activity is “integral and indispensable” to an employee’s jobs turns on whether the employee could still perform his primary duty if the activity in question were removed. Clear as mud, right?
The employees in this case were warehouse workers. Their primary duty was pulling items to complete orders. The Court reasoned that in an imaginary world where these employees were not required to go through security at the end of the day, they would still be able to pull items and complete orders, that is, they could still complete their primary duty. Thus, technically and logically, having to wait in line to file through a required security checkpoint at the end of the day is not an “integral and indispensable” activity for these workers…even though, their employer required it as a condition of employment.
If you believe that your employer is not paying you all of your wages for all of your lawfully earned overtime compensation at a rate of one and half times your normal wages as requires under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act or Ohio Minimum Fair Wage Standards laws or you are an nonexempt employee that has been misclassified as exempt or independent contractor, contact the attorneys at Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm today for a free and confidential initial consultation. The wage and hour lawyers at Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm will provide you with the best options for your overtime pay dispute situation. If you even think that you may be entitled to overtime pay that you are not being paid, call 866-797-6040.
The materials available at the top of this overtime, wage and hour web page and at this employment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. If you are still asking, “Am I entitled to overtime?”, “Does my job have to pay me for …”, “My paycheck is not right…” or “What do I do if…”, the your best option is to contact an Ohio overtime attorney to obtain advice with respect to FLSA questions or any particular employment law issue. Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The legal opinions expressed at the top of this page or through this site are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm, Brian Spitz, or any individual attorney.