Cases & Deals

U.S. Steel prevails in "donning & doffing" FLSA case filed by United Steelworkers local union

Client(s) U.S. Steel Corporation

Jones Day provided defense to U.S. Steel Corporation in a collective action in which plaintiffs seek to represent all non-exempt production and maintenance employees at Clairton Works and claim that U. S. Steel has failed to pay them overtime compensation for time spent donning and doffing protective clothing and traveling to and from their worksites. The case was initially brought as a putative collective action under the FLSA and as a putative class action under the Pennsylvania Wage Act. The Court granted U. S. Steel's motion to dismiss Plaintiffs' state law claims on the grounds they were preempted by federal labor law. The three remaining individual Plaintiffs then moved for conditional certification of their FLSA claim, but class certification motion practice was stayed so that the court could consider case-dispositive, threshold issues to be raised in U. S. Steel's Motion for Summary Judgment. On June 22, 2009, the district court granted in part U. S. Steel's motion for summary judgment, holding that the plaintiffs were not entitled to compensation for time they spend donning and doffing flame-retardant clothing and other protective apparel, as well as time they spend showering, because such time is excluded from hours worked by 29 U.S.C. § 203(o). The district court declined to grant summary judgment for U. S. Steel as to the named plaintiffs' claim for time spent walking between a coke battery and their assigned lockerroom. On July 10, 2009, U. S. Steel moved to certify for interlocutory appeal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b) the question of whether the donning, doffing and washing activities found by the district court to be excluded from working time by the application of Section 203(o) can nonetheless start and end the continuous workday, resulting in the time spent walking to and from the employee's actual place of performance of the principle activities for which the employee was employed being outside the definition of non-compensable travel time under Section 254(a)(1) of the Portal-to-Portal Act. The district court granted U.S. Steel's 1292(b) motion, certifying for interlocutory appeal this one remaining claim, and the Seventh Circuit issued an order allowing the appeal on March 25, 2010.

Andrako v. U. S. Steel Corporation, Case No. 07-CV-1629 (W.D. Penn.)