Positive Jury Verdict Against Tyson Foods
A federal jury in Kansas found against Tyson Foods and Tyson Fresh Meats for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") and the Kansas Wage Payment Act ("KWPA") for failure to pay meatpacking workers for pre- and post-shift donning and doffing of protective and sanitary clothing and equipment. The case was brought as a class action on behalf of individuals who worked at Tyson's slaughter and processing facility in Finney County, Kansas. The jury also found that Tyson willfully violated the FLSA.
Stueve Siegel Hanson filed the lawsuit in May 2006 in Kansas Federal Court. Tyson had argued throughout the litigation that it was acting in good faith compliance with prior Department of Labor and Federal Court guidance in paying as little as four minutes per day for pre- and post-shift donning and doffing activities. When Tyson's early summary judgment motion was defeated in 2007, Tyson appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. That appeal was dismissed and the Plaintiffs thereafter obtained class and collective action certification. "Not once in five years did Tyson even consider resolving this dispute for any amount" Hanson said. "Hopefully the message from the jury may cause Tyson to reconsider its litigation strategy going forward."
Stueve Siegel Hanson partners George Hanson and Eric Dirks and associate Lee Anderson successfully tried the case.
The case is Garcia et al. v. Tyson Foods, Inc. et al (Case No. 06-2198-JWL) filed in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kansas.