Paint Workers Get Back Pay for "Donning and Doffing" Time

April 10, 2003 ( - Workers at Mercedes-Benz' Vance, Alabama plant will be paid $687,588 in back wages associated with time spent changing uniforms over the past two years.

Mercedes agreed to pay the back wages after the US Department of Labor’s (DoL) Wage and Hour Division brought to the company’s attention allegations that it had not properly paid paint department employees for required uniform changing time, otherwise known as “donning and doffing” time, between February 18, 2001 and February 9, 2003, according to a DoL news release.

After the allegations were brought to the company’s attention, a self-audit was conducted, revealing a discrepancy in carmaker’s compensation practices and recordkeeping and overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).   Following this discovery, officials at Mercedes immediately agreed to full future compliance and compensation for back wages, according to Jack McKeon, acting regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division’s southeastern region.

“Mercedes Benz’ management has been very forthright regarding these violations and has cooperated fully throughout the process. They agreed early in the process to work with the Wage and Hour Division to bring this matter to resolution,” says McKeon. “A cooperative effort like this ensures timely payment of back wages to employees and compliance for the company in the future.”