Poultry Processing Company to Settle Back Pay Suit for $1.2 million

May 15, 2006 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A Missouri poultry processing plant has agreed to pay $1.2 million in back pay to more than five thousand current and former employees for unpaid overtime spent putting on and taking off protective clothing.

According to HR.BLR.com, George’s Processing, Inc., has agreed to settle the dispute with the Department of Labor that the company failed to pay workers at its Cassville, Missouri processing plant for the time spent “donning and doffing” protective clothing and walking to and from the worksite.

The company admitted no wrongdoing but has agreed to pay out $1,235,000 to 5,482 current and former employees.

Following a Supreme Court decision in November that said the Fair Labor Standards Act required employers to compensate workers for time spent walking to and from the production floor after putting on and taking off safety gear (See US Supreme Court to Hear Protective Clothing Dispute), Toyota agreed to pay its employees at one of its paint shops $4.5 million in back pay for time spent putting on protective suits before walking to the assembly line (See Toyota Offering $4.5M to Workers for Changing ).

Perdue Farms also agreed in 2002 to pay 60,000 employees in its chicken processing plants $10 million in back pay for time spent “donning and doffing” gear (See Perdue Settles Back Pay Suit for $10 Million ).

The Supreme Court ruled in IBP v. Alvarez that protective gear is “integral and indispensable” to the job, so employees should be compensated for time spent changing in and out of it.