Sandifer v. U.S. Steel Corp.

Employees need not be compensated for donning and doffing protective gear they are required to wear by their employers. Petitioner and others filed a collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) seeking backpay for time spent putting on and taking off pieces of protective gear that they assert respondent requires workers to wear because of hazards at its steel plants. The FLSA excludes “changing clothes” from the time for which unionized employees must be paid, unless negotiated otherwise. There is a provision in the collective bargaining agreement between U.S. Steel and the petitioners’ union that would make the time non-compensable, if valid under 29 U.S.C. § 203(o), which allows parties to collectively bargain over whether time spent changing clothes at the beginning or end of the workday must be compensated. The Court found that petitioners’ donning and doffing of the gear at issue qualifies as “changing clothes” within the meaning of 203(o) and thus need not be compensable under the FLSA absent a specific collective bargaining agreement provision.

Sandifer v. U.S. Steel Corp., 134 S. Ct. 870 (2014); see 29 U.S.C. § 203(o) (2014).

(Development authored by Andrea De Leon)