PA Workers Sue Transit Authority for Travel Time Pay

August 7, 2007 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A group of employees of the York County (PA) Transportation Authority has filed a lawsuit against the agency asking for compensation and overtime pay for traveling to and from work sites.

According to the complaint, filed with the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, plaintiffs are required to report to a central terminal west of Philadelphia each day and are required to clock in before the work period begins. After the plaintiffs clock in, they are required to board vehicles which transport them to and from their place of operation. Likewise, they must board vehicles and travel back to the original terminal to clock out before they leave work.

The workers spend approximately 40 to 60 minutes per day riding in these vehicles to and from the job site. However they receive no paid time for this period, according to the suit.

The complaint charges that the Authority failed to comply with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by not compensating the plaintiffs for all hours worked, including both regular hours and hours in excess of the maximum weekly hours as provided by the Act.

In the Pennsylvania case the plaintiffs are seeking:

  • damages in the full amount of their wages for all wages which were not paid within the three years preceding the filing of the complaint;
  • liquidated damages in the amount of 25% or $500.00, whichever is greater;
  • an award for the costs of the action;
  • pre- and post-judgment interest on all amounts awarded;
  • compensation for reasonable attorney’s fees; and
  • injunctive relief to prevent future violations of the FLSA.

The suit resembles others that have been filed requesting compensation or overtime pay for time spent traveling to work sites as well as time spent putting on and taking off job-required clothing or protective gear. In February 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case in which workers at IBP Inc. – now Tyson Fresh Meats Inc. – won $3.1 million in back pay for time they spent changing into protective clothing needed in the slaughterhouse (See US Supreme Court to Hear Protective Clothing Dispute ).

In similar actions, a Missouri poultry processing plant agreed in May 2006 to pay $1.2 million in back pay to more than five thousand current and former employees for unpaid overtime spent putting on and taking off protective clothing (See Poultry Processing Company to Settle Back Pay Suit for $1.2 million ), and in August 2006, the Department of Labor 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, for time spent putting on (donning) and taking off (doffing) required safety gear and for time spent walking to and from work stations (See BMW Ordered to Compensate Workers for “Donning and Doffing” Time ).

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