A class action complaint has been filed alleging that Akron, Ohio-based Gardner Pie Company is not paying its manufacturing facility employees for all the hours they’ve worked – including overtime hours at time-and-a-half – in violation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Required Donning and Doffing for Food Processing Workers

Regulations require employees in food processing and food manufacturing environments to wear personal protective equipment (PPE). This protects them from potentially harmful machinery and protects consumers by ensuring food safety. 

Wearing PPE is a job requirement and putting on (donning) or taking off (doffing) PPE adds time to the official workday. When employers like Gardner Pie Company refuse to pay employees for donning and doffing time, they violate the FLSA.

While the FLSA may not cover time spent putting on and taking off a uniform, it does cover integral or job-required activities, including:

  • Putting on or removing required safety equipment or clothing, such as protection for eyes, ears, hands, face, head, and feet.
    • “Walking and waiting time” that occurs before and after the employee’s principal work responsibilities.

As the “essential job functions” included in a recent Gardner Pie Company pie line posting shows, working with and around dangerous equipment and machinery is an everyday occurrence at its manufacturing facility:

  • Follows production SOPs in regard to morning setup, daily tasks, changeovers, and end-of-day clean-up procedures on all equipment.
  • Operates equipment and machines according to safety standards.

The FLSA entitles workers to overtime pay (150% of their base pay rate) when they put in more than 40 hours a week. When donning and doffing time pushes an employee’s workweek beyond 40 hours, they deserve to be compensated accordingly.

Talk to Our Experienced Overtime Pay Lawyers Today

Sommers Schwartz’s Unpaid Wages and Overtime Litigation Group fights for workers who fall victim to FLSA violations and helps them recover compensation for donning and doffing, overtime pay, and other wages to which they are entitled.

Although the class action complaint is already on file, we continue to explore the wage abuse allegations against Gardner Pie Company, and we are interviewing workers who suspect they have been illegally denied compensation. If you are or were a Gardner Pie Company employee and feel you are owed unpaid wages for time spent donning and doffing, contact us for a free consultation to discuss your situation.

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Jesse Young

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Jesse Young

Jesse Young represents clients in serious employment disputes, such as severance negotiations, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing activity, employment contracts, terminations, and compliance. In addition, he has appeared in hundreds of wage-and-hour lawsuits and hundreds more arbitrations arising under the Fair Labor Standards Act and similar state laws.