Donning and Doffing – Are You Being Paid to Suit Up?

If you’ve ever been required to wear a uniform at work, you’re most likely familiar with the hassle of getting ready and unready for the job, especially when your uniform is more intricate than your day-to-day wear. What you may not be familiar with are the terms used to describe these changing requirements – donning and doffing.


According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), donning refers to the act of putting on protective gear, clothing, or uniforms, while doffing refers to the act of taking it off. Your employer may not consider the time these tasks take to be compensated hours, but the state of California disagrees.


California law states that all employees must be paid for the time that they are under the control of the employer. If your employer requires you to wear specific clothing to complete your job requirements, and this change of apparel is happening on-site, during working hours where the uniform is kept, you must be compensated for this time. This law only applies to those to are required to change into their uniform at work and not employees who get ready at home.


Particular industries are subject to donning and doffing more than others. These industries include positions that require personal protective equipment or special gear or clothing in order to perform the job.


Industries that may experience donning and doffing requirements include:


  • Food service workers
  • Nurses
  • Drilling companies
  • Construction
  • Pharmacy workers
  • Welders
  • Amusement park workers
  • Cooks
  • Dishwashers
  • Hotel workers


If your employer is not compensating you for donning and doffing time, you may have a case against them. These violations have cost employers when taken to court. In 2017, a 1.9 million settlement was reached in a class action lawsuit that alleged state and federal labor violations by supplement maker Pharmavite LLC. According to the case filings, Pharmavite didn’t pay employees for changing in and out of clothes prior to their shift, during meals, and after their shift.


If you believe you are not fairly compensated for your work, including the donning and doffing time required by your employer, reach out to Jibit Cinar and the attorneys at Gokal Law. The Gokal Law attorneys specialize in California employment law and can help to determine if you have a case, and how to proceed moving forward. Give us a call at 949-753-9100 or contact us here.

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