A victory for the DOL in name alone

The Department of Labor issued a press release on November 5, 2009 stating that Tyson Foods was found in violation of the FLSA by failing to pay workers in its poultry processing plant for time spent donning and doffing  protective equipment and clothing.  The Department further stated that the workers had been vindicated by the jury’s verdict.  The press release, however, fails to mention what that verdict was or how many workers it represented.  The DOL sought relief on behalf of 3000 current and former Tyson employees.  The case had been pending since 2002 and had previously been tried resulting in a mistrial.  After all of those years and two trials, the jury returned a verdict of only $250,000.  Despite now claiming vindication, the DOL asked the jury to return a verdict of $8 million.  The verdict amounts to $83.33 per person.

While Tyson reportedly is deciding whether to appeal the verdict, the result seems more like a victory for Tyson.

 

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