Plant workers for Ashland Global Holdings have just received final approval of a $3.9 million settlement resolving claims for unpaid wages. The settlement is set to benefit almost 900 chemical operators that have worked at Ashland plants within the last four years. The initial collective action lawsuit, that was filed in April of last year, claimed that the company violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) when their chemical operators went unpaid for time spent gearing up and taking off required protective gear as well as failing to correctly calculate overtime.
Ashland’s policies dictate that plant workers have to gear up before stepping foot into the facilities. Protective gear, which includes company-issued safety uniforms, hairnets, hard hats, safety glasses, gloves, earplugs, beard nets and steel-toed boots are all equipped and then removed daily in a process Ashland terms as “donning and doffing”. Ashland only allotted 10 minutes of pay for donning and doffing when in reality the workers spent nearly 30 minutes on donning their equipment alone. Additionally, workers at unionized facilities claimed that the company failed to pay them their overtime correctly when they worked during shifts that offered premium hourly rates.
Unfortunately, many companies in these industries often do not take into account all or portions of time spent equipping and removing gear necessary to complete shifts safely. If you have experienced unpaid donning and doffing time at your company, you may have a claim for owed wages. Feel free to call us for a free and confidential consultation at (212) 300-0375, if you have any questions about your rights. Additionally, you can find helpful information on our website here.