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Donning and Doffing Lawsuits

This Alert Affects:

Anyone who wasn't paid for time spent donning and doffing.

What's Going On?
Across the country, workers are filing lawsuits saying they're not getting paid for time spent putting on and taking off safety gear and other specialized tools and clothing needed to perform their jobs.
What We're Doing About It
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are now speaking with workers who were not paid for donning and doffing. They're trying to help these individuals file lawsuits to collect money for work time that went unpaid.
What You Can Do
If you weren't paid for donning or doffing time, fill out the form on this page. One of the attorneys working with ClassAction.org may then reach out to you directly to help determine whether you're owed unpaid wages.

Workers who weren’t paid for “donning and doffing” – that is, changing in and out of gear, tools and clothing need to perform one’s job – may be able to participate in a class action lawsuit to collect the wages they should have been paid. Across the country, dozens of lawsuits have been filed alleging that companies, ranging from the Hilton Airport Hotel in Los Angeles to Tyson Foods, aren’t following federal law when choosing not to include donning and doffing time in employees’ total hours worked. As a result, these workers are losing out on hundreds or even thousands of dollars in unpaid wages.

Attorneys working with ClassAction.org want to hear from anyone who wasn’t paid for donning and doffing time, as they may be able to start or join a class action lawsuit. To get in touch, simply fill out the form on this page and tell us about it.  

What Is Donning and Doffing?

The terms “donning” and “doffing” refer to putting on and taking off clothes and personal protective equipment (PPE) needed to perform one’s job.

Should I Be Paid for Donning and Doffing?

The answer is, it depends on the amount of time spent donning and doffing and the type of gear you’re putting on and taking off.

In general, time spent putting on things like work boots, leg warmers, work gloves, hard hats or other items that could generally be regarded as items of “clothing” isn’t compensable. The Supreme Court has found that special work gloves, work boots and hard hats are simply just types of gloves, boots and hats – and that time spent putting on and taking off these items should generally go unpaid, even if it is a “protective” type of clothing, like a fire-retardant jacket.

In summary, the more the item is like a regular piece of clothing, the less likely it is that time spent donning and doffing this gear is compensable.

What About Personal Protective Equipment?

In general, time spent “donning and doffing” items that cannot be compared to regular pieces of clothing that are used to protect employees from workplace hazards should be paid. Examples of this personal protective equipment may include the following:

  • Safety glasses
  • Earplugs
  • Respirators
  • Tools

What If I Wear Both Special Clothes and Equipment?

Your total time spent donning and doffing will be looked at as a whole. If most of your time is spent putting on and taking of uniforms or anything else that could be considered “clothing,” the time generally is not compensable. If most of your time is spent donning and doffing protective gear that is not a typical piece of “clothing,” the time generally should be paid.

Unfortunately, whether something is considered “just clothes” or “personal protective equipment” is still a bit of a gray area. If you spend time donning and doffing at your job, you can learn more about whether you should be paid for this time. To get in touch, just fill out the form on this page.

One of the attorneys we work with may then reach out to you directly to help determine whether you’re being paid properly. If not, you may have a chance to file a lawsuit against your current and former employer to collect unpaid wages for donning and doffing – and this time, over the years, can add up. It doesn’t cost anything to talk to a lawyer and you’re never obligated to take legal action after learning more about your rights. 

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Case Resources

Sandifer et al. v. United States Steel Corp. Ruling
Read the ruling that draws the line between "clothing" and "personal protective equipment."
FLSA on Donning and Doffing
Across the country, workers are filing lawsuits saying they're not being paid properly for donning and doffing time. Learn more about the allegations and whether you can join a class action.