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February 3, 2014

SUPREME COURT Rules on Exemption for Protective Wear

In a Jan. 27, decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held that an employer may include in a collective-bargaining agreement an exemption from the requirement that employees be paid for time donning and doffing clothes required by the employer.

The court found the term “clothes” included such items such as flame-retardant jackets, pants, work gloves, hard hats, work boots, snoods, leggings, wristlets and hoods. The term “clothes” did not include ear plugs, protective eyewear or respirators. Unless time spent “donning and doffing” is explicitly not compensable under a collective-bargaining agreement, employees must be paid for time donning and doffing work clothes.

See Sandifer v. US Steel Corp., US Supreme Court case No. 12-417.

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