Today's U.S. Supreme Court decision in Sandifer v. United States Steel Corp. paves the way under collective bargaining agreements for the possibility of excluding time spent donning and doffing many kinds of personal protective items from the scope of federal Fair Labor Standards Act "hours worked". Our Labor Alert evaluating the decision in more detail can be accessed here.
Remember that Sandifer does not (i) directly affect non-union settings, or (ii) dispose of the issue under the analogous wage-hour laws of states or other jurisdictions.
Many had been anticipating that the Court might take the opportunity to expound further upon the circumstances under which, and the extent to which, courts should defer to U.S. Labor Department interpretations. The Court did not do so.