7th Circuit: Clothes-changing, travel time are not compensable

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in Compensation and Benefits,Human Resources

Employers, courts and even the U.S. Department of Labor have regularly wrestled with the issue of whether employees must be compensated for time related to changing into and out of work clothes.

In Sandifer v. U.S. Steel Corp. (Nos. 10-1821, 10-1866, 7th Cir., 2012), the 7th Circuit held that an employer wasn’t required to pay employees for time spent changing into and out of work clothes and time spent traveling to and from the locker room and the work area.

Required protective gear

Plaintiffs were former and current unionized hourly employees at U.S. Steel. While working, plaintiffs wore flame-retardant pants and jackets, work gloves, work boots, hard hats, safety glasses, ear plugs and hoods. Plaintiffs used a locker room to change into and out of their outfits before and after work. The union and U.S. Steel had a collective bargaining agreement that did not require compensation for changing into and out of work clothes.

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