by Frank P. Spada Jr., Esq., Pepper Hamilton LLP, Philadelphia
The U.S. Supreme Court’s unanimous interpretation on Jan. 27 of the meaning of “changing clothes” in the Fair Labor Standards Act () is significant for unionized employers in industries in which workers must change clothes to begin and end their work shifts.
In Sandifer v. United States Steel Corporation, current and former employees filed a collective action seeking back pay for time spent “donning and doffing” clothing and protective gear. They claimed that U.S. Steel requires them to wear 12 items—including flame-retardant jackets, pants, hoods, gloves and leggings—because of steelmaking facilities’ common hazards.
Time spent putting on and taking off these items would normally be compensable under the FLSA.
However, at issue was the validity of a collective bargaining agreement provision addressing the issue.
The Supreme Court was asked to decide whe...(register to read more)