BMW Ordered to Compensate Workers for "Donning and Doffing" Time

August 2, 2006 ( - The Department of Labor (DoL) announced a complaint and consent judgment with BMW ordering payment of $629,869 in overtime back wages to 1,224 workers in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

According to the DoL announcement, the company failed to pay automobile body and paint shop workers for time spent putting on (donning) and taking off (doffing) required safety gear and for time spent walking to and from work stations between April 2003 and March 2006.

In the judgment approved by the US District Court in Spartanburg, BMW agreed to pay the back wages to workers, due within 90 days, and comply with the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act in the future, the announcement said.

In November 2005, the US Supreme Court ruled unanimously that companies must pay plant workers for the time it takes to change into protective clothing and walk to their work stations (“donning and doffing” time). The court said that while employers are not required to pay workers for time spent changing clothes, they must pay for the donning of “integral” gear and the time it takes workers to then walk to the production area (See NewsDash – November 9 “DON” WON? ).

In February 2006, Toyota offered $4.5 million in back pay to about 1,000 current and former employees for “donning and doffing” time (See Toyota Offering $4.5M to Workers for Changing Clothes).