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Texas Donning & Doffing Lawsuits (Unpaid pre-shift and after-shift work)

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Texas donning and doffing lawsuits allege employees in Texas have not been adequately compensated for all time preparing for and cleaning up after shifts, including putting on and taking off specialty work clothing, and logging into and out of computer systems. Depending on the employee's hours worked, time spent involved in Texas donning and doffing could be eligible for overtime pay, meaning employees were not only denied regular pay but also time-and-a-half.

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Texas Donning and Doffing

Plaintiffs in Texas donning and doffing lawsuits allege that the activities they are involved in before and after their shifts are vital to the work they do but are not properly compensated. These activities can involve:

  • Putting on specialty/safety gear and tools prior to shifts and after breaks
  • Taking off specialty/safety gear and tools at breaks and after shifts
  • Logging into computer systems prior to shifts and after breaks
  • Logging out of computer systems at breaks and after shifts
  • Waiting for security checks before leaving the premises at breaks or after shifts
  • Picking up tools, equipment, or vehicles at one location and driving them to a worksite
  • Moving tools, equipment, or vehicles to a storage site after a work shift.
  • Taking part in mandatory meetings before the start or after the end of shifts.

DESCRIPTIVE TEXT The above activities can add up to a half hour of unpaid work to an employee's shift. In cases where materials, tools, or vehicles are moved, employees might not be paid for an hour or more of duties related to their work.

Some plaintiffs in such wage and hour lawsuits argue that their computer systems automatically log them out of their shift even if they are in the middle of helping a customer and are unable to stop work for the day.

According to a ruling from the Supreme Court, employees should be paid for time spent involved in activities that are essential to the work being done and that benefit the employer. Further, if the employee has no control over the circumstances surrounding the activity—for example, if the work gear cannot be taken home and must be put on at the job site—the activity might be compensable.

Texas Donning and Doffing Lawsuits

A notable Texas donning and doffing lawsuit was determined in favor of workers at Pilgrim's Pride. The case, from 2010, argued workers were owed back wages for time spent putting on and taking off gear required for work at a poultry processing plant. Pilgrim's Pride and the US Department of Labor resolved the complaint, with Pilgrim's Pride agreeing to pay more than $1 million in back wages and agreeing to pay employees for time spent donning and doffing their work-related clothing.

Employees who take part in activities that are integral to their primary duties but are not paid for that time may be eligible to file a Texas employment lawsuit.

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