Ark. Sup. Ct.: Despite custom, donning and doffing compensable

In a case of first impression, a divided Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that, although a baby foods processor and the union representing its production employees had a longstanding custom and practice under a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) of treating time spent donning and doffing protective and sanitary gear as non-compensable, such time was compensable under the Arkansas Minimum Wage Act (AMWA). Finding that the donning and doffing activities were performed pursuant to strict procedures developed by the employer and were performed for the benefit of the employer, the state high court held that such activities constituted “work” under the AMWA. Justice Wood filed a separate dissenting opinion joined by Chief Justice Brill and Justice Hart.

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