Toyota Offering $4.5M to Workers for Changing Clothes

February 17, 2006 ( - Toyota is offering $4.5 million in back pay to about one thousand current and former employees to settle a dispute with paint shop employees at its Georgetown, Kentucky plant.

The Associated Press reports that the workers say they should be paid for the time it takes to put on protective suits and walk to their assembly line jobs.

A Toyota spokeswoman says the employees have until mid-March to decide whether to accept the offer, according to the AP. Toyota says the payout works out to about $1,000 for a full year of work up to five years.

In addition, the company says retroactive contributions would also be made to the employees’ 401(k) retirement and pension funds.

The US Supreme Court ruled in November of 2005 that , while employers aren’t 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. The Supreme Court agreed to consider the issue after district courts had reached different rulings on separate cases (See US Supreme Court to Hear Protective Clothing Dispute).