Wyatt Employment Law Report


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United States Supreme Court to Revisit Class Action Issues

By Michelle D. Wyrick

Last week, the United States Supreme Court agreed to review Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo, No. 14-1146, which gives the Court an opportunity to consider class certification questions about how damages may be proven in a class action and whether a class can include members who were not injured.

Tyson Foods is a donning and doffing case in which the lower court certified collective and class actions under the Fair Labor Standards Act and state law. The plaintiffs, who were hourly production workers at an Iowa processing facility, alleged that Tyson Foods did not adequately compensate them for time spent donning and doffing protective equipment and walking to and from their work stations. Although Tyson Foods did not record the time actually spent by each employee on these tasks, it added several minutes per shift to each employee’s paycheck to compensate them.

At trial, to prove damages, the workers relied on individual time sheets and compared them to a time study of a sample of employees who were observed donning, doffing, and walking. The jury returned a verdict for Continue reading