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Saturday, March 26, 2016

US Supreme Court Reviews In The Course of Employment Issue

The US Supreme Court ruling in a recent wage and hour case solidified the principle that the time spent by workers to put on and remove safety equipment should be consider time "on the clock" and in the course of employment. This concept reaffirms basic workers' compensation case law that such activities are within the course of employment. The Supreme Court affirmed the lower court verdict awarding damages to the workers of $5.8 Million dollars for overtime wages.

English: Anthony Kennedy, Associate Justice of...
Anthony Kennedy,
Associate Justice of the
Supreme Court of the
United States
(Photo credit: 
"In their complaint, respondents alleged that donning and doffing protective gear were integral and indispensable to their hazardous work and that petitioner’s policy not to pay for those activities denied them overtime compensation required by the FLSA. Respondents also raised a claim under the Iowa Wage Payment Collection Law. This statute provides for recovery under state law when an employer fails to pay its employees “all wages due,” which includes FLSA-mandated overtime. Iowa Code §91A.3 (2013); cf. Anthony v. State, 632 N. W. 2d 897, 901–902 (Iowa 2001)."

"The case proceeded to trial before a jury. The parties stipulated that the employees were entitled to be paid for donning and doffing of certain equipment worn to protect from knife cuts. The jury was left to determine whether the time spent donning and doffing other protective equipment was compensable; whether Tyson was required to pay for donning and doffing during meal breaks; and the total amount of time spent on work that was not compensated under Tyson’s gang-time system."

KENNEDY, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and GINSBURG, BREYER, SOTOMAYOR, and KAGAN, JJ., joined. ROBERTS, C. J., filed a concurring opinion, in which ALITO, J., joined as to Part II. THOMAS, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which ALITO, J., joined.

Tyson Foods, Inc., Petitioner v.Peg Bouaphakeo, et al., Individually and on Behalf of All Others Similarly Situated, No. 14-1146 Decided, March 20, 2015

US Supreme Court Docket