Joining similar decisions applying the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Portal-to-Portal Act in Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk, Senior District Judge Terrence F. McVerry of the Western District of Pennsylvania recently held that time spent attending allegedly mandatory pre-shift safety meetings was not compensable under the FLSA because those safety meetings were neither “principal activities” nor “integral and indispensable” to the mining employees’ principal activities. Bonds v. GMS Mine Repair & Maint., Inc., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 127769 (W.D. Pa. Sept. 23, 2015).

In Bonds¸ Plaintiffs argued they were entitled to compensation for time spent attending fifteen-minute safety meetings before each shift. The Plaintiffs had previously alleged a claim for compensation based on waiting time associated with travel via shuttle to and from a remote parking lot to the work site, but conceded that such claims were not viable during the pendency of the litigation based on applicability of Integrity Staffing.

Judge McVerry determined that the time spent at pre-shift safety meetings was not compensable under the FLSA, as it was neither a principal activity of the job, nor integral and indispensable to the miners’ principal activities. Rejecting Plaintiffs’ argument that pre-shift safety meetings were integral and indispensable activities to the work performed by the Plaintiffs, Judge McVerry held that “[a]ttendance at a pre-shift safety meeting (while perhaps desirable) is not an intrinsic element of conducting underground mining activities.” Therefore, since “the miners are able to perform underground labor regardless of whether they attended the pre-shift meetings,” such meetings were “the sort of activity that is ‘two steps removed’ from the productive activity that, in this case, occurs underground.”

Bonds joins several other decisions applying the “integral and indispensable” test reiterated in the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in Integrity Staffing.