A class action lawsuit filed by current and former workers at a U.S. Steel plant in Gary, Indiana regarding overtime wages for time spent changing into work clothes and walking to and from the locker room, has been dismissed by the 7th Circuit Court.
Writing for the court, Judge Richard Posner said about changing clothes, “Protection-against sun, cold, wind, blisters, stains, insect bites, and being spotted by animals that one is hunting-is a common function of clothing, and an especially common function of work clothes worn by factory workers. It would be absurd to exclude all work clothes that have a protective function… and thus limit the exclusion largely to actors’ costumes and waiters’ and doormen’s uniforms.”
Judge Posner also wrote that the three-judge panel agreed that walking to and from the locker room is not a principal activity covered under the Portal-to-Portal Act, saying, “Suppose it is 100 yards from the plant entrance to the locker room and another 100 yards to the work station. On the plaintiffs’ view, traversing the second 100 yards is compensable, though traversing the first 100 yards is not, but if the locker room were adjacent to the work station none of the workers’ travel time would be compensable even though the amount of walking they’d be doing would be identical. What sense could that make?”
The 7th Circuit directed the district court to dismiss the case, Courthouse News reported.