The Supreme Court Says Unanimously Your Boss Can Make You Work For Free

Amazon_warehouse_at_Glenrothes_-_geograph.org_.uk_-_1562441-300x225The Supreme Court ruled unanimously this week that your boss does not have to pay you for all the time they force you to spend at work. At issue was a lawsuit filed by Amazon warehouse workers suing for wages they were not paid while they were forced to wait in long lines for post-shift security searches. Workers report that sometimes they can be waiting in line for as long as 25 minutes.

The ruling from SCOTUS hinges on the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act, as well as a 1947 statute known as the “Portal-to-Portal Act.” Under the FLSA, workers have a right to compensation for their “principal activities.” But the Portal-to-Portal Act allows certain pre- and post-shift activities to be exempt. A typical example of this is that most places of employment will not allow you to clock in before you put on your uniform.

SCOTUS based their ruling in the Amazon case on a 1956 ruling which found that “workers must be paid for activities that are ‘integral and indispensable’ to the job itself.”

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