Should Employers Pay For Security Checks?

Many employers require employees to undergo security checks before leaving the work premises (including before leaving the premises for meal breaks). Some employers also require security checks before an employee commences work.  For example, in the retail context, such security checks may include inspecting the employee’s personal affects, such as purses and backpacks.  Other employers require more high-tech security checks, including scans, depending on the nature of the employee’s work.

Often employees must wait until a supervisor with the proper authority is available to conduct the checks and release them.   If such a person is busy or unavailable, then the employee is required to wait until the security check is conducted.  This time waiting for and being subjected to the security checks may be compensable.

If such security checks occur off-the-clock (e.g. before an employee has clocked in for the day or after an employee has clocked out for the day) or if an employee is not credited for the time it takes to conduct the check, that may be a violation of federal and state wage and hour laws.  If the security check  (a) is an integral and indispensable (e.g. directly related) to the employee’s job;   (b)  is for the employer’s benefit – such as to deter theft; and  (c) is not de minimus (e.g. minimal), then the employee is entitled to be paid for the time.  Over the course of a work week, the employer’s failure to pay employees for the time it takes to conduct security checks may cumulatively constitute an overtime violation.

In addition, if the security checks are required by a third-party other than the employer – such as the FAA or some other regulatory agency – then the security check is not considered integral and indispensable and therefore not compensable.

Security check off the clock claims need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.  Therefore, if you have questions regarding the whether your overtime rights have been violated please contact Shavitz Law Group for a free consultation at 800-616-4000 or email us [email protected].

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