The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was careful to provide a definition of “work” in order to make sure companies did not take advantage of their employees by forcing them to perform work without fair compensation. Unfortunately, the definition is still sufficiently vague as to leave some matters in question.
One of those matters is the time it takes to put on (don) and take off (doff) any uniforms or safety equipment employees are required to wear while working. Most companies don’t consider donning and doffing special clothing or equipment to be work, so they don’t pay their employee for that time. The workers, on the other hand, argue that as long as their employers require them to don and doff uniforms or safety equipment before and after their shifts, it cannot be considered part of the employees’ personal time. Continue reading