Nursing assistants employed by HCR Manor Care, Inc. in suburban Philadelphia filed a collective action to recover lost wages for time spent maintaining their uniforms.

As reported by Law360 (subscription required), HCR Manor Care does not provide its workers with on-site laundry facilities, yet requires the workers to spend an uncompensated two-three hours per week making sure their work clothing meets the company’s “clean and wrinkle-free” standards. The plaintiffs claim that they should be paid for this this off-the-clock time, and that the failure to pay them constitutes a violation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

HCR Manor Care implemented its dress code policy in September 2009, but did not mandate it until December 2011. When the policy went into effect, all employees were required to purchase their uniforms from a single vendor, which denied them the right to purchase uniforms that may have required less time and effort to maintain. Additionally, the policy provided that employees could be sent home without pay to change into a clean, wrinkle-free uniform if needed, and that they could face progressive disciplinary measures, including termination, for failure to comply.

The class action plaintiffs include full-time nursing department employees who worked at any of HCR Manor Care’s 291 nursing facilities in 27 states from Dec. 31, 2011, to the present, and who were not compensated for complying with the dress code policy.

The attorneys in Sommers Schwartz’s Employment Litigation Group represent some of the employees in this action in addition to thousands of others in wage and hour disputes. If you have questions regarding your rights under the federal or state employment laws, please contact us today.