The Supreme Court recently looked at three cases that asked whether or not companies have to pay employees for pre-work activities.
What useful info can HR get from the decisions?
Answer: not a whole lot.
The Court refused to overturn all three decisions. Here’s what each of them said:
- Unionized poultry plant workers didn’t need to be paid for putting on, taking off and cleaning their protective gear, because that wasn’t the practice under their collective bargaining agreement (Cite: Anderson v. Cagle’s, Inc.).
- Nuclear plant employees didn’t earn pay for putting on their protective clothing, because the activity was “relatively effortless” (Cite: Gormon v. Consolidated Edison Corp.).
- Employees at another poultry plant had to be paid for donning and doffing their gear, because doing so took up a significant amount of time and required “significant exertion” (Cite: Tyson Foods, Inc. v. de Ascencio).
The upshot: For now, anyway, employers won’t get any help sorting through the unclear regs and inconsistent court rulings on the subject.