A Mixed Result in Western District of Pennsylvania “Donning and Doffing” Case

In June 2008, Western District of Pennsylvania Chief Judge Donetta W. Ambrose handed workers a mixed decision in a Pittsburgh-area overtime lawsuit entitled Andrako v. United States Steel Corp., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52235 (W.D. Pa. June 22, 2009). Here is the tally of the district court’s rulings: (i) the protective items worn by the coke manufacturing plant employees constitute “clothing” under FLSA Section 3(o); (ii) the employees’ post-shift showering is covered by FLSA Section 3(o); (iii) the pre-shift and post-shift walking time is not covered by either FLSA Section 3(o) and does not constitute preliminary or postliminary activities under the the Portal-to-Portal Act; and (iv) the employees were not required to exhaust the union grievance process prior to filing suit because their legal claims stemmed from the FLSA rather than the collective bargaining agreement. Two of the cases discussed extensivy by Judge Ambrose were handled by WLF. The first case is In re Cargill Meat Solutions Wage & Hour Litig., where our overtime attorneys represented hundreds of workers from Hazleton, Pennsylvania (Luzerne County), and Wyalusing, Pennsylvania (Bradford County) who sought straight-time overtime pay for their donning, doffing, washing, and travel activities. The second case is Gatewood v. Koch Foods of Mississippi, where we represent hundreds of Mississippi poultry workers with similar claims. The Andreko opinion is a must-read for overtime lawyers and attorneys from Pittsburgh and elsewhere.
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