Is “icing and heating” the new “donning and doffing”?

This is the first post by guest writer Jon Rehm of Rehm, Bennett & Moore in Nebraska, who will be appearing on our site from time to time.

Today I received a call from a union official at a local packing plant asking me if the company could force injured employees to apply ice and heat to their injuries during break.

I answered it depends on whether the company or the employee receives the predominant benefit of the icing. The predominant benefit analysis is the framework for deciding “donning and doffing cases.” In donning and doffing cases, the issue is whether taking off and putting on safety equipment before and after a shift as well as during meal and break times should be paid. I think the same analysis could work for “icing and heating.” One argument for icing and heating time not being compensable is that the pain relief predominately benefits the employee. However, employers argued in the donning and doffing cases that wearing safety gear benefits employees, but courts have still found the predominate benefit question to be one answerable by a jury (subscription required).

Jon Rehm practices in Lincoln, Nebraska (Rehm, Bennett & Moore, PC, LLO). He concentrates his practice on representing injured workers and their families. Jon holds a degree in journalism from Northwestern University(B.S.) and a law degree from Nebraska College of Law(J.D.). He is a member of the Nebraska State Bar Association, the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys and the Workplace Injury Law Advocacy Group.

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