Are after-hour security screenings considered work and compensable under Pennsylvania law?
Heimbach, et al. v. Amazon.com, et al.; In re Amazon.com, Inc., Fulfillment Ctr. Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) & Wage & Hour Litig., 852 F.3d 601 (6th Cir. 2017), Certification of Question of State Law granted Dec. 27, 2019, appeal docket 43 EAP 2019.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted the Sixth Circuit’s petition for certification of a question of state law concerning the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act, 43 P.S. §§333.101 – 333.115. In Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk, 574 U.S. 27 (2014), the United States Supreme Court found that under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq., as amended by the Portal-to-Portal Act, 29 U.S.C. § 251 et seq., post-shift security screenings were non-compensable because they were preliminary and postliminary activities, and thus not considered compensable work. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will determine whether mandatory post-work security procedures are “hours worked” under Pennsylvania law, or whether, like federal law, such hours are non-compensable, and whether the doctrine of de minimis non curat lex (alleged working time need not be paid if it is trivially small) bars claims brought under Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act, 43 P.S. §§333.101 – 333.115.
In re Amazon.com, Inc., Fulfillment Ctr. Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) & Wage & Hour Litig., 852 F.3d 601, 606 (6th Cir. 2017), certification was denied and the Sixth Circuit found that even though the Kentucky Wages and Hours Act (KWHA) did not use the language of the Portal-to-Portal Act and there was no state case law addressing the issue, the concepts of the KWHA were substantially similar to the federal equivalents, so the Kentucky Supreme Court was likely to find Integrity Staffing persuasive and decide, like the Sixth Court, that after-hour security procedures are not work and are non-compensable.
The Supreme Court will resolve the following questions:
(1) Is time spent on an employer’s premises waiting to undergo and undergoing mandatory security screening compensable as “hours worked” within the meaning of the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act, 43 P.S. §§333.101 – 333.115?
(2) Does the doctrine of de minimis non curat lex, as described in Anderson v. Mt. Clemens Pottery Co., 328 U.S. 680 (1946) and Sandifer v. U.S. Steel Corp., 571 U.S. 220 (2014), apply to bar claims brought under the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act, 43 P.S. §§333.101 – 333.115?