Recent Donning and Doffing Case Sheds Light on This Misunderstood Wage and Hour Issue/ Williams Kastner Labor & Employment Advisor

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Ever since the United States Supreme Court’s 2005 decision of Alvarez v. IBP, Inc., employers have been wary of potential employee claims alleging that the time spent putting on and taking off protective clothing, as well as time spent walking to and from this activity, constitutes “work time” compensable under federal or state wage and hour laws. In Andrako v. United States Steel Corporation, a federal district court in Pennsylvania determined that production and maintenance employees of United States Steel Corporation were not entitled to additional compensation for the time they spent donning and doffing protective clothing but were entitled to be paid for “hours worked” walking to and from their work areas once the protective clothing was put on. The decision addressed the interplay between the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and the Portal-to-Portal Act which excludes from compensable hours worked “any time spent in changing clothes or washing at the beginning or end of each work day which was excluded from measured working time during the week involved by the express terms of or by custom or practice under a bona fide collective-bargaining agreement applicable to the particular employee.” This article summarizes the Alvarez case.

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