The case involves U.S. Steel employees working at mills in Michigan and Illinois; it arose primarily from the company

Unanimous Supreme Court Sides with U.S. Steel in Donning Case

The justices agreed with the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that protective gear is not distinct from “work clothes.”

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Jan. 27 in Sandifer, et al. v. U.S. Steel Corp., No. 12-417, that U.S. Steel is not required to pay workers for the time spend donning and doffing protective equipment and then traveling to and from their workstations. "We hold that petitioners' donning and doffing of the protective gear at issue qualifies as 'changing clothes' within the meaning of [the provision in the Fair Labor Standards Act that allows parties to collectively bargain over whether donning and doffing time must be compensated]," Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the unanimous court.

The case hinged on the definition of "clothes" and whether it encompasses 12 specific items of protective gear, including a flame-retardant jacket, hard hat, safety glasses, ear plugs, and a respirator. The case involves name plaintiff Clifton Sandifer and several other U.S. Steel employees working at mills in Michigan and Illinois; it arose primarily from the company's Gary Works. U.S. Steel won the case before the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in May 2012, and the plaintiffs appealed.

The court's opinion agrees with the original trial court and the 7th Circuit that employees spend only minimal time donning and doffing safety glasses and ear plugs and that respirators are worn as needed at job locations, which makes the time spent donning and doffing them part of an employee’s normal work day.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • Easy to Use Safety Incident App

    Record incidents on the go with IndustrySafe’s mobile app. Collect data for multiple types of incidents including including near misses, vehicle and environmental incidents, and employee and non-employee injuries; at job sites and remote locations—with or without web access.

  • Safety Training 101

    When it comes to safety training, no matter the industry, there are always questions regarding requirements and certifications. IndustrySafe is here to help. We put together a resource that’s easy to digest so you can get answers to your training questions and ensure you're complying with OSHA's standards.

  • Conduct EHS Inspections and Audits

    Record and manage your organization’s inspection data with IndustrySafe’s Inspections module. IndustrySafe’s pre-built forms and checklists may be used as is, or can be customized to better suit the needs of your organization.

  • Track Key Safety Performance Indicators

    IndustrySafe’s Dashboard Module allows organizations to easily track safety KPIs and metrics. Gain increased visibility into your business’ operations and safety data.

  • Industry Safe
comments powered by Disqus