DuPont has lost a bid to delay the progress of a class action lawsuit alleging the chemical giant owes workers overtime for donning and doffing equipment before and after their shifts.
In October, the Third Circuit ordered the case back to trial after overturning a decision by a lower court dismissing the case. DuPont then asked the Third Circuit to put the case on hold for 90 days while it files an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court – a request the Third Circuit denied.
Three women employed at the DuPont plant in Towanda, Pa., filed a putative class action against the company in 2012 alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The employees accuse DuPont of not paying them for time spent putting on and taking off protective gear before and after they officially start work. DuPont argued that, because it voluntarily provides workers with paid meal breaks it does not have to pay overtime for donning and doffing and is not in violation of the FLSA.
This decision is especially remarkable because it clashes with prior lower court decisions from around the country, which hold that employers can offset pre- and post-shift off-the-clock work when employees are provided with paid meal breaks. It appears employers no longer have such a defense, at least within the Third Circuit.
If you believe your employer has deprived you of wages and overtime, the attorneys in the Sommers Schwartz Employment Litigation Group have successfully represented hourly workers in lawsuits for unpaid donning and doffing time and other forms of wage abuse. Please contact us today to discuss your situation and the potential damages to which you may be entitled.