Tyson Foods’ Case is a Strong Compensation Lesson for Employers

CompensationIt arrives as no secret that most of the organizations, especially the ones that are publicly-traded, consider safeguarding the bottom line as a matter of highest priority. This results in companies finding methods to cut the price range while consistently delivering services and products of high-quality range to their consumers.

There are various efficient methods to minimize the price range, for instance, leveraging technology, finding cheaper suppliers, and negotiating with vendors, to name a few. But, the most unfortunate approach that many organizations are seeking is by lowering the compensation amount to the employees who are injured. One such company leading the allegation is none other than the American multinational food processing mammoth, Tyson Foods.

The recent decision of Supreme Court in a class-action lawsuit concerning Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) against food chain giant Tyson Foods should serve as a strong lesson for employers. It is yet another significant reminder that business owners must be aware of specific pre-employment and post-employment tasks, which are accounted for compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act. It also reminds that failing to compensate for these affairs may subject the business owner to liability, which includes overtime liability.

The employees working in pork processing plant at Tyson Foods brought the issue alleging that the employers failed to compensate them for the time period spent on taking on and off the required gear for protection at the beginning and the end of meal periods and shifts.

The court discovered that the time period spent by employees for wearing and taking off the gear and equipment for protection was indispensable and integral part of the work. Due to this, it directly becomes subject to compensation for employees under the terms of Fair Labor Standards Act.

In the class-action lawsuit, the employees argued that the time period spent on wearing and removing the protective gear when added to weekly hours amounted to a period of over 40 hours every week. This certainly arrives under the issue of overtime on an unpaid basis. Tyson Foods kept no records concerning the time period, which is why a representative evidence was presented by employees.

The decision from the court arrived in the favor of employees and employers were required to pay the compensation amount.

The key points for employers to learn from this case are:

Keep adequate records of time, even if the time you feel is non-compensable.

Identify the pre-employment and post-employment approaches.

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