Seyfarth Synopsis: The Eleventh Circuit recently affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment to two Florida counties in an action brought against former sheriff deputies under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Florida Minimum Wage Act (FMWA). The court held that the deputies were not entitled to compensation for the time that they spent donning and doffing police gear at home or the time that they spent driving to and from work in marked patrol vehicles.
Should we be paying our employees before their shifts start? The answer is highly fact dependent. In recent weeks, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the Middle District of Florida’s decision that the time deputies spent putting on their police gear at home and driving to and from work in their patrol cars was not compensable. In Llorca v. Sheriff Collier County, Florida, the Eleventh Circuit analyzed what type of pre-shift activities may qualify for hourly compensation. The decision provided a deep analysis of the Portal-to-Portal Act of 1947, as amended by the Employee Commuting Flexibility Act of 1996. In relevant part, the act states that an employer does not have to pay its employees for activities that are “preliminary or postliminary” to the “principal activity” of the job. The U.S. Supreme Court has long interpreted the term “principal activity or activities” to include all activities that are an “integral and indispensable part of the principal activities.”