Tuesday, November 08, 2005

"Justices Back Paying Workers as They Suit Up"

November 8, 2005

Justices Back Paying Workers as They Suit Up

Filed at 1:53 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that companies must pay plant workers for the time it takes to change into protective clothing and safety gear and walk to their work stations.

The issue was one of two that justices settled in a pair of unanimous decisions, the first rulings under the leadership of Chief Justice John Roberts in the new fall term. Roberts did not write either one.

In a defeat for business, the court said that employers must pay wages for the donning of ''integral'' gear and the time it takes workers to then walk to the production area.

The court, in a ruling by Justice John Paul Stevens, upheld a decision of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in favor of workers at a meat processing plant in Pasco, Wash. Those workers typically put on sanitary outer garments, boots, hardhats, aprons and gloves.