“German police officer earns extra week’s holiday for getting dressed”

by Walter Olson on July 19, 2010

The test case in the city of Muenster has German municipal officials worried about busted budgets. [Guardian, Telegraph] So-called “don/doff” lawsuits have been a pretty big deal in our own employment law in recent years, although, as our 2008 report from Arkansas indicates, they don’t always have the support of the putative victims.

{ 6 comments }

1 Marty 07.19.10 at 10:30 am

Certainly time spent doing laundry and shopping for new clothes should also be included…

2 Jim Collins 07.19.10 at 11:12 am

I’m with the cop. I used to work for a company that required me to be at my machine 1/2 hour before the start of my shift and I had to stay until I reset my tools for the next day. All of this time was unpaid. Worked out to about 1-1/2 hours per day.

3 Leafs 07.19.10 at 11:54 am

I was in a similar situation as Jim. While going to school, I worked as a lifeguard at a theme part, was expected to clock in 30 minutes before my shift, change, walk over to my station at the far end of the park, then wait for my shift to begin, all unpaid. It really bothered me that I would get written up if I didn’t check in 30 minutes before shift start for being late. I wasn’t given the option of getting dressed at home because I even had to check in and check out my lifegaurd tank top. Fortunately I found a better job a few weeks later.

4 Ps 07.19.10 at 1:37 pm

Of course there is an option for those who whine and bitch about having to put in a bit of unpaid labour – it’s called unemployment

5 gitarcarver 07.19.10 at 2:45 pm

Certainly Jim Collins’ and Leafs’ stories are cases of employment abuse.

If you are required to be someplace or perform some task for your employer, that should require compensation.

However, in the German case, the middle ground was dismissed. The middle ground is that the cop be paid for gear which he would not normally have to don at any other job. That means he would be compensated for the time it takes him to put on his vest, his utility belt, and his weapon.

How is the cop different from anyone who has any type of dress code at their employer? Does this now mean that a business that requires a person to wear a tie and jacket should be compensated? Will women get more compensation at it takes them longer to dress?

As the cop would most likely wear a shirt, trousers, shoes, etc at any other job, there shouldn’t be compensation for the time it takes to put that on.

6 Leafs 07.19.10 at 2:47 pm

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