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HR Solutions

Supreme Court Clarifies Walking Time;

Says Time Spent is Work Time if Dress is "Integral"

11/09/05

    The U.S. Supreme Court today unanimously ruled that employees in meat processing plants had to be paid for the time spent changing into a uniform or safety gear that was integral to the job worked, and also for the time spent walking from the changing area to the production area.

    IBP Inc. v. Alvarez, 03-1238; Tum v. Barber Foods Inc., 04-66.

     "The relevant walking in this case occurs after the workday begins and before it ends," Justice Stevens wrote.

    Although the distinction between preliminary dressing time and work time has been addressed over the past sixty years by the Court, this case makes clear that the time spent traveling to a production area is work time, even if the employees have to wait significant amounts of time to get their job-related uniforms and/or gear and put them on.