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Tyson and WalMart Lose

WalMart and Tyson lost with SCOTUS today.  In Pennsylvania, a group of Tyson meat workers sued because the company didn't give them adequate breaks during their time on the cutting floor--it took a long time for them to remove and re-don their protective clothing and to get to and from their work stations, and Tyson refused to pay them for the time it took for them to climb in and out of their work gear and walk to their stations, so their breaks were effectively zero minutes long.

The Pennsylvania court ruled for the meat workers and awarded them back pay and damages.  Tyson appealed to SCOTUS.  SCOTUS refused to hear the case.

WalMart, meanwhile, wrote in its employee handbook that employees were to receive short, paid breaks if they worked more than certain length of time.  However, two employees sued because, they said, they either didn't get the breaks or they didn't get paid for them.  WalMart claimed the law didn't require breaks or payment for them.  (This is sort-of true--the law requires breaks, but they need not be paid.)  The employees said Pennsylvania law clearly states that an employee handbook constitutes a contract.  WalMart shot back that two people didn't have standing to sue on behalf of an entire group of employees.  The Pennsylvania court ruled for the workers on all points and ordered WalMart to pay back wages and damages to ALL affected employees.  WalMart appealed to SCOTUS.  SCOTUS turned them down.

DING DONG, SCALIA'S DEAD! It's a great day for labor.  I love this court!


As an afterthought, a while ago SCOTUS ruled that Amazon was not required to pay its employees for the time they spent waiting in line before and after work to get through Amazon's security check, a wait that often lengthens the work day by an hour.  I wonder if this would be a good time for them to sue again on slightly different grounds . . .


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