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Should Changing Into Work Clothes and Walking to Worksite Be Paid?

HumanResourcesJournal (06/04/2012)

In a lawsuit filed against Gary, IN-based U.S. Steel, 800 current and former hourly employees accused the company of violating the federal Fair Labor Standards Act by failing to compensate workers for time spent changing into work clothes and walking to and from their work stations. The district court noted that under the FLSA, changing clothes was not compensable, but it indicated that time spent walking to work stations might be compensable. However, an appeals court later determined that the collective bargaining agreement, which does not call for compensation for clothes changes, should be followed because the FLSA does not cover such activity. Moreover, time spent walking to work stations is not compensable because the collective bargaining agreement does not consider clothes changes a principal activity, meaning that the work day starts when employees reach their stations.