U.S. Department of Labor's Agreement with Tyson Foods on “Donning and Doffing” Lawsuit Influences Future Wage and Hour Rights

June 4, 2010

In a recent blog, our California Employment Attorneys discussed the wage and hour rights of poultry processing workers, and what work activities are considered compensable under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA)--focusing on "donning and doffing" and the time it takes workers to put on and take off their protective work gear at the start and end of each workday.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced yesterday, that Tyson Foods, Inc., one of the world's largest processors of chicken, pork and beef, has agreed to a nationwide injunction in a 'donning and doffing' lawsuit, that will require the company to pay the workers of the poultry processing plant for all the hours that they work--a critical step in the DOL's efforts to protect the wage and hour rights of workers and influence the way workers are paid in the poultry processing industry in the future.

According to the DOL, Tyson agreed to resolve the 2002 lawsuit, which was filed by the DOL after an investigation by the department's Wage and Hour Division at Tyson's poultry plant in Blountsville, Alabama, found that Tyson violated federal law by not paying workers overtime pay to compensate them for the time it took to put on and take off protective and sanitary clothing before and after their shifts.

This agreement ensures that Tyson poultry processing workers will be paid for all of the "donning and doffing" time spent before and after work shifts. The workers also must be compensated for all of the time spent walking and waiting that occurs during the workday. Tyson is obligated to keep precise and accurate records of the workers' time.

As part of the consent judgment resolving the case, the nearly 3,000 former and current Blountsville workers will receive $500,000 in overtime back pay for poultry processing work that dates back ten years. Although the back wage claim only covered the wage and law violations in the plant in Blountsville, the DOL reports that it obtained an injunction that will mandate the compensation practices for poultry processing workers at all of the union and non-union plants of Tyson.

Our Anaheim-based Labor and Employment Lawyers are experienced in representing wage and hour claims and will help find a resolution in your dispute. In cities throughout Orange County, California, contact Howard Law, PC today.

Tyson Foods and U.S. Government Agree on Wage and Hour Plan, Marketwatch.com, June 3, 2010

Tyson Foods Agrees to Nationwide Injunction Requiring Poultry Workers Be Paid for Time Spent Putting On and Taking Off Protective Items, Sanitization and Between Tasks, Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division Press Release, June 3, 2010

Related Web Resources:

Department of Labor (DOL): Wage and Hour Division (WHD)

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