Tuesday, November 05, 2013

(BN) Wages for Donning Safety Gear Debated at U.S. High Court

** I find it hilarious to pay people for protecting themselves on the job. 

(Bloomberg ) U.S. Supreme Court justices questioned whether federal law guarantees that unionized factory workers receive compensation for time spent putting on and taking off safety equipment.

Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel is being sued by workers at its Gary, Indiana, facility. The workers say they spend as much as an hour before and after their shifts donning protective gear, including flame-retardant clothing and steel-toed boots, and then traveling to their work stations.

The workers' lawyer, Eric Schnapper, today contended that "clothing" typically refers to items that provide comfort or decency, and not to things that primarily protect against workplace hazards.

The employees also contend they aren't "changing" clothes unless they are substituting one article for another, and not if they are simply adding or subtracting items.

The company has the Obama administration's support in the case, which the court will resolve by July.

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