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Pay for ‘donning and doffing,’ not waiting

by on
in Human Resources

Issue: Should you pay employees for time spent putting on and taking off work clothes?

Benefit: Recent court case limits your obligations under so-called "donning and doffing" laws.

Action: Start calculating how much time employees spend putting on and taking off required work clothing.

A handful of recent high-profile court cases say you should pay employees for the time they spend at work putting on and taking off required work clothes and equipment (so-called "donning and doffing"). But the case below limits your liability.

Recent case: A group of hourly production workers at a food processing plant sued under the Fair Labor Standards Act, arguing they should be paid for time spent putting on and taking off their required work clothing. The workers also sought back pay for time spent waiting in line to pick up and drop off their clothing at the company's cage windows.

A federal appeals court said the workers had a case as far as the actual donning and doffing of clothes, but said the company didn't have to pay for time spent waiting beforehand. (Tum v. Barber Foods Inc., Nos. 02-1679, 02-1739, 1st Cir., 2003)

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