The United States Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments in a case that could put the kibosh on a genre of wage-and-hour litigation under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Its decision could also place significant restrictions on the ability of the United States Department of Labor (DOL) to change legal positions depending upon which political party is in the White House. Then again, the Supreme Court could simply decide a technical issue arising under the FLSA as it applies to one group of employees working for one employer.
The FLSA requires an employer to pay an employee for all time spent working. However, for employees working under a collective bargaining agreement, employees are not entitled to compensation for time spent changing clothes at the beginning or end of each workday if that time is excluded from “working time” under that collective bargaining agreement. This is known as the “Section 3(o) exemption.”