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Compensable Time Traps for Employers Under the FLSA: Determining Integral and Indispensable Activities

Record $22+ Million Verdict Under FLSA, Jurisdiction and Fact Specific Considerations, Best Practices to Mitigate Risk

Recording of a 90-minute CLE video webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Recorded event now available

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This CLE webinar will guide practitioners through common compensable time traps for employers under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The panel will review notable recent case law and DOL enforcement actions demonstrating the considerations and pitfalls for employers when trying to determine what activities are compensable and the costly penalties that may result from noncompliance. The panel will also discuss state law considerations of which practitioners should be aware and provide best practices to mitigate risk.


In May 2023, in Su v. East Penn Manufacturing Co. Inc. (E.D. Pa. 2023), a federal jury returned a more than $22 million verdict against the employer for violating the FLSA where it did not compensate employees for donning and doffing protective equipment or for showering to avoid the risks of lead exposure. The verdict was the largest award ever under the FLSA. Su demonstrates how costly misunderstanding what qualifies as compensable time can be for employers.

Donning and doffing protective gear is one of many compensable time traps into which employers fall and end up paying significant penalties. Other common time traps include not paying employees for traveling time, breaks/meal periods, training, sleeping time, and other job-related activities that may be considered compensable under the FLSA. Additionally, where more employees are working remotely, certain activities are still compensable even though the employee is not in the office.

Determining whether an employee should be paid under certain circumstances is fact and jurisdiction specific as recently demonstrated in Tyger v. Precision Drilling Corp.(3d Cir. 2023), a case also centered on donning and doffing protective gear. The appellate court adopted a new framework for determining whether certain activities that fall outside the scope of the employee's principal activities are "integral and indispensable" to productive work. The court is now in the majority for federal courts; however, state laws often have additional requirements.

Listen as our expert panel guides practitioners through common compensable time traps under the FLSA and discusses state law considerations. The panel will also provide best practices to mitigate risk.



  1. Overview of FLSA and compensable time
    1. Record-setting jury award in Su v. East Penn Manufacturing Co. Inc. (E.D. Pa. 2023)
    2. Why FLSA claims are so costly to employers?
      1. Liquidated damages
      2. Attorneys' fees
      3. Willful violations
    3. Portal-to-Portal Act: activities that are preliminary to or postliminary to principal activities vs. activities that are integral and indispensable to productive work
  2. FLSA compensable time traps as demonstrated in recent case law and DOL enforcement activity
    1. Donning and doffing uniforms/gear and similar activities
      1. Su v. East Penn Manufacturing Co. Inc. (E.D. Pa. 2023)
      2. Tyger v. Precision Drilling Corp. (3d Cir. 2023)
    2. Traveling
    3. Breaks/meal periods
    4. Expressing breast milk
    5. On-call/waiting time
    6. Sleeping time
    7. Training
    8. Work from home considerations
  3. State law considerations
  4. Best practices to mitigate risk


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • What are the most common FLSA compensable time traps of which counsel and their clients should be aware?
  • What federal and state considerations should counsel and clients be aware of when developing policies and procedures?
  • Why are FLSA violations so costly to employers?
  • How should counsel best advise their clients to mitigate the risks of a DOL investigation and costly penalties?


Bare, Natalie
Natalie F. Bare

Special Counsel
Duane Morris

Ms. Bare is a class action and employment law litigator. She focuses her practice on defending companies in...  |  Read More

Finkel, Noah
Noah A. Finkel

Partner, Co-Chair National Wage and Hour Litigation Practice Group
Seyfarth Shaw

Mr. Finkel’s principal area of concentration lies in wage-and-hour matters, in which he has represented companies...  |  Read More

Warden, Ryan
Ryan T. Warden

White and Williams

Mr. Warden has extensive experience defending claims alleging discrimination, retaliation, and harassment. His practice...  |  Read More

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