“Donning and doffing” refers to the time employees spend putting on (“donning”) and taking off (“doffing”) mandatory personal protective work equipment, and many employees feel they should be compensated for this time. In one recent lawsuit, former Taylor Farms employees allege they were illegally not paid for donning and doffing, were denied rest and meal breaks, and were not give paychecks properly.
According to the lawsuit, employees of the Taylor Farms food production plants in California are owed wages for the time they spent on putting on, taking off, and cleaning protective equipment during on-duty meal breaks. Taylor Farms allegedly consistently violated California labor laws, requiring workers to work up to 17 hours a day and only paying them $8 per hour. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has fined Taylor Farms over $80,000 over the past five years. The company was penalized for violations including requiring employees to work off-the-clock and without pay. Taylor Farms workers also claim they were denied workers’ compensation when they were injured on the job, and those who complained about safety or pay issues were often fired.
The plaintiffs also claim that Taylor Farms did not include the time workers spent putting on, taking off, and cleaning protective equipment when calculating overtime pay. The defendant company also allegedly violated a wage order that requires an employer to pay one hour of pay at an employee’s regular rate for each workday on which a duty-free meal period was not provided.
In this lawsuit, the hourly workers sought class certification of their lawsuit. A judge certified the class for the overtime and wage complaints, but not the donning and doffing issue. The judge found that since not all employees are required to wear the same protective equipment, donning and doffing does not take the same amount of time for everyone, there is too much variety to warrant class certification on the issue.
Previous similar donning and doffing in California lead to awards of nearly $350,000 to resolve claims.
Sacramento, CA 95821