Should You Get Paid for Putting on Clothes and Gear at Work?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay employees for all time worked, which includes any activity that is part of the job or that is incidental and necessary to perform part of the job. This means that employers may have to pay employees for tasks the employees perform before they clock in and after they clock out, typically called “donning” or “doffing.” The Supreme Court affirmed the class certification and award of $2.9 million dollars for TYSON plant employees who spent between 18 and 21 minutes getting dressed and undressed in clothing and safety wear before and after clocking in and out.

Donning and Doffing, and other Employee Required Prep Time Before Clocking In

Additionally, The US Supreme Court in IBP, Inc., v. Alvarez, held that companies must pay its employees for all time spent donning and doffing safety gear (metal aprons, vests, armguards, and special gloves) and walking between the locker room and the production floor at the start and end of each shift. However, time spent donning and doffing non-unique gear (e.g., hard hats, gloves, boots, or hairnets) is generally not compensable.

Are You Getting Paid Fairly for All Your Time at Work?

An employer may be required to pay you for getting prepped for work. There are other situations of which you may be unaware that also require payment. The time spent waiting also is compensable. If your employer orders or commands you to first set up something, log in or log onto computers or databases, or prepare other things prior to clocking in, it may be a similar unlawful pay practice.

If you have not been paid for all time worked, you may be eligible to make a claim for damages. If you have questions or would like a free assessment of your employment situation, an employment law attorney at Feldman Williams, PLLC can help. Please contact us and we’ll review your case.