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Meat Plant Workers Win Lost Wages Claim

10 July 2013

US - A judgment from the US district court in Kalamazoo, Michigan has declared that employers who fail to pay workers for the time they take to put on and take off protective equipment and clothing may be in violation of federal wage and hour laws.

At the JBS Packerland plant in Plainwell, Michigan, company policy mandates that workers who perform certain meat processing tasks, wear protective clothing and equipment to avoid injury, and that they remove their gear before taking their lunch break.

This process of “donning” and “doffing” takes around 10 minutes each time, a total of approximately 40 minutes each day.

However, because workers were not paid until after they donned their gear and their pay ended before they doffed it, this was time for which they were never paid.

“These employees were onsite, on company time, yet weren’t being properly compensated,” said Matthew Turner, an attorney at Sommers Schwartz, P.C., the Southfield, Michigan law firm representing the class of workers affected by JBS’s workplace policy.

“The company enjoyed a significant windfall as a result.”

Mr Turner and his colleagues recently succeeded in obtaining a judgment on behalf of seven plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit – Daniel Perez Lazo, Anna Maria Lopez Guzman, Jean Mbonicimpaye, John Novitsky, Tad Lee Bronkema, Jonathan Childress, and Elia Ntacobakimvuna. Other plaintiffs continue to await their day in court.

“These fine people expected to be paid a fair wage for an honest day’s work, yet their employer took advantage of them instead,” added Mr Turner.

“I applaud their courage in stepping forward to make things right for themselves and their families.”

TheMeatSite News Desk

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