Established 1958 ~ Hardball Business Litigation & Complex Negotiations

Pennsylvania District Court Denies Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment Regarding Claim for Unpaid Overtime for Time Spent Taking Protective Equipment On and Off

In Tyger v. Precision Drilling Corp., Rodney Tyger, an employee of Precision Drilling Corp., brought a suit under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) seeking compensation for the amount of time it took to put on, and take off, personal protective equipment as well as compensation for the time it took to walk from the personal protective equipment changing area to the post-shift safety meeting location. Tyger v. Precision Drilling Corp., 308 F.Supp. 3d 831 (M.D. Pa. 2018). Precision Drilling Corp. argued that Tyger was not entitled to compensation for putting on and taking off personal protective equipment, or for the time it takes to walk between the area designated for putting on and taking off personal protective equipment and the post-shift safety meeting locations. Conversely, Tyger argued that Precision Drilling Corp. willfully violated the FLSA which entitled him to compensation.

In its argument, Precision Drilling Corp. cited to the Portal-to-Portal Act, which created two exceptions to the FLSA’s mandated compensation. The exception includes, “walking, riding, or traveling to and from the actual place of performance of the principal activity or activities which such employee is employed to perform….”Id. at 841. The Supreme Court of the United States has weighed in on what constitutes “principal activity or activities” which are excluded from the Portal-to-Portal Act exception to the FLSA’s manded compensation as, “all activities which are an ‘integral and indispensable part of the principal activities.’” Id. (citing Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk, 135 S. Ct. 513 (U.S. 2014)).  Therefore, “an activity is integral and indispensable to the principal activity that an employee is employed to perform if it is an intrinsic element of those activities and one with which the employee cannot dispense if he is to perform his principal activities.” Id. at 841.

The Court analyzed whether putting on and taking off personal protective equipment was an “integral and indispensable” aspect of employment. The Court found that when dealing with hazardous chemicals, employees of Precision Drilling Corp. put on and took off personal protective equipment while on the clock. The Court denied Tyger’s Motion for Summary Judgment claiming an issue of material fact existed as to how toxic the oil-based mud, a biproduct of oil and gas drilling, was to the employees and whether it necessitated putting on and taking off personal protective equipment.

For more information, call our Philadelphia employment lawyers for Fair Labor Standards Act in Philadelphia and South Jersey at the Law Office of Sidkoff, Pincus & Green at 215-574-0600 or contact us online.