By Alexander Barthet

Do you know that some 75% of employees steal from the work place, and many do it repeatedly? From office supplies to spare parts, unauthorized breaks to surfing the web during work hours, employees are regularly stealing from their employers, and doing it primarily because they have the opportunity to do so. After all, taking this one thing or texting my friend won’t really matter, will it? The FBI says it sure does, reporting that employee theft is the fastest growing crime in America, with companies losing billions annually.

This has made prevention very important for employers, including construction managers. Background checks, video surveillance, even monitoring trash removal – all help, as do security checks of employees as they leave the work place.

A recent case, making it all the way to the Supreme Court, tested whether workers are entitled to be paid while waiting in line to be checked. Apparently, personnel at an Amazon facility stood in line for up to 25 minutes each day going through security and they wanted to be paid for that time. In a unanimous decision, the Court ruled against them, finding this was not compensable time. These sort of screenings said the justices are simply not activities considered integral to a worker’s duties. Just like commuting to work, security checks are neither an employee’s principal task nor indispensable for their jobs. No different than the Portal-to-Portal Act, employers do not have to pay for things that take place before or after the actual workday.

Construction companies, keen on continuing to use security checks to make sure none of their supplies or tools leave the job site with their workers, can breathe a sigh of relief. A different decision would have surely resulted in them having to budget for many millions of dollars more in extra pay.

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