Thompson's Employer's Guide to the Fair Labor Standards Act recently published an article written by Shlomo D. Katz, member of the Firm's Litigation Department. In the article, titled "Using Common Sense with the FLSA: Dictionaries and the Sandifer Decision," Shlomo discusses the current confusion surrounding the language in the Fair Language Standards Act, the definitions of 'clothes' and 'changing clothes' in particular, and the U.S. Supreme Court's effort to clarify the meaning.
From the Article
"'Clothes,' it turns out according to those dictionaries, are: 'coverings for the human body,' 'coverings for the person,' 'wearing apparel,' 'dress' or 'vestments.' In essence, says the Court, the word 'clothes' denotes 'items that are both designed and used to cover the body and are commonly regarded as articles of dress.'
What about 'changing clothes'? The employees in Sandifer argued that changing clothes means taking off one article of clothing and substituting a different one, while putting something on top of an employee’s street clothes does not involve “changing.” The Court, however, rejected that definition as impractical, because one employee might put a given garment over his own shirt, while another might remove his shirt to put on the same garment."