Considering Supreme Court’s Sandifer Decision, Employers Should Revisit “Donning and Doffing” Compensation Policies
On The month of january 27, 2014, the U . s . States Top Court held that point spent donning and doffing needed protective equipment wasn’t compensable underneath the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and also the relation to a collective bargaining agreement. In Sandifer v. U . s . States Steel Corp., a legal court ruled the donning and doffing of protective equipment qualified as “altering clothes” under § 203(o) from the FLSA. Pursuant to § 203(o), a labor union as well as an employer can see whether time put in altering clothes at the start or finish of every workday is going to be compensable.
Within the Sandifer situation, current and former U.S. Steel unionized employees claimed they weren’t correctly paid for donning and doffing the needed protective equipment just before after their shifts. U.S. Steel alleged, however, the donning and doffing under consideration, which may well be compensable underneath the FLSA, wasn’t compensable pursuant towards the collective bargaining agreement. The protective equipment within the Sandifer situation incorporated flame-retardant jackets and pants, hoods, hard hats, neck protectors, wristlets (protective detached shirt-sleeves), work mitts, leggings, steel-toed boots, safety glasses, sleeping earplugs and respirators. The Final Court held that “clothes” under § 203(o) means “products which are both designed and accustomed to cover your body and therefore are generally considered as articles of dress.” A Legal Court further held that altering clothes includes wearing substitute clothing and “altering dress,” but unsuccessful to visit so far as embracing the holdings of some courts of appeal that clothes means anything worn on our bodies. Particularly, the final Court concluded within this situation that safety glasses, sleeping earplugs and respirators weren’t “clothes” under § 203(o). The implication in the Court’s Opinion, however, is the fact that in situations where most donning and doffing includes products which are considered “clothes,” employers may preserve their contracts and practices using the union inside a collective bargaining agreement and can, therefore, ‘t be susceptible to liability. Employers, therefore, should be aware of the items products employees spend nearly all time donning and doffing, and also the fact-intensive analysis that will probably be done by the courts.
As the Supreme Court’s decision in Sandifer talks to employers with unionized workforces as well as their collective bargaining contracts, non-unionized employers should notice that the final Court’s Opinion signifies that the donning and doffing under consideration within the Sandifer situation could have been compensable underneath the FLSA without use of the § 203(o) exception. Because of this employers should review any donning and doffing needs, time allocated to individuals activities, and whether individuals activities are now being correctly compensated.