Ballaris v. Wacker Siltronic Corp., 370 F.3d 901 (9th Cir. 2004)

Plaintiff-employees worked in Wacker’s cleanrooms where silicon wafers were manufactured. All employees who work in the cleanrooms must wear gowns to help maintain the clean environment. Ballaris alleged in this FLSA class-action lawsuit that Wacker had a policy or practice of failing to pay its workers overtime wages for the time spent on gowning activities and putting on and taking off plant uniforms. In response, Wacker asserted that it need not provide any pay for the time its employees spent on the activities identified by plaintiffs because it was entitled to credit their paid lunch hour compensation against all such hours of work. The Ninth Circuit held that the employees were entitled to be compensated for the time spent “donning and doffing” the uniforms on company premises and that the company was not entitled to offset the paid lunch period against any compensation otherwise due. Cf. Snyder v. The Navajo Nation, 371 F.3d 658 (9th Cir. 2004) (FLSA does not apply to tribal law enforcement officers because such enforcement is an intramural matter of tribal self-government); Mortensen v. County of Sacramento, 368 F.3d 1082 (9th Cir. 2004) (FLSA does not require sheriff’s department to provide deputies with compensatory time off on a specifically requested date if all leave openings on that date are full).