A hotly contested topic around the country is whether workers should be
paid for time spent changing their clothes. A failure to pay an employee
for all of the time-spent working may be a violation of the Federal Labor
Standards Act (FLSA). Under the FLSA, employers must pay all non-exempt
workers for all time-spent working, including overtime for time put-in
in excess of 40 hours in any one work week. Your overtime rate is one
and one-half times your regular rate of pay.
If you have any questions about the FLSA or believe you may not have been
paid all the compensation you are entitled to it’s important to
consult with an experienced
Atlanta wage and hour attorney right away.
Despite fairly straightforward sounding rules, many employers either mistakenly
or intentionally fail to pay their workers compensation – including
overtime pay – for all hours worked. An example of where a lot of
confusion exists is whether workers should be compensated by their employers
for time spent changing clothes (in legal terms, “donning and doffing).
Although generally time spent changing clothes may not be counted as compensable
time worked, it depends on the type of work and type of clothing involved.
Where workers are required to change into safety equipment, many courts
around the county are requiring that employers pay workers for the time
spent “donning and doffing.”
The Ninth Circuit (which includes Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Colorado,
Nevada, Arizona, Arkansas and Hawaii) determined that changing in safety
equipment is distinct from putting on ordinary work clothes, so they should
be paid for this time.
However, the Seventh Circuit (which includes Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin)
found that a steel company was not required to pay some 800 former and
current steel workers for the time spent changing in and out of safety
equipment such as flame-retardant pants and jacket, work gloves, safety
glasses, a hard hart and putting in ear plugs. The court reasoned that
the amount of time was “de minimus,” so compensation wasn’t required.
The Supreme Court has decided to step in to answer this question. This
past February, the Supreme Court agreed to answer the very narrow question:
“What constitutes ‘changing clothes’ within the meaning
of Section 203(o) of the FLSA? [Section 203(o) is a section of the law
stating, “hours worked” does not include time spent “changing
How the Supreme Court answers this question may have a large impact on
the take home pay of people who work in industries requiring that workers
wear safety equipment to perform their jobs.
For more information about “donning and doffing” or if you
believe that your employer has not paid you all the compensation you deserve,
it’s critical to contact a dedicated
Atlanta overtime pay attorney right away.