May 13, 2010
The Law Firms Butsch Simeri Fields, Larson · King, and The Farwell Law Firm File Federal Wage “Donning and Doffing” Class Action Lawsuit Against Farmland Foods.
St. Louis – A federal class action lawsuit alleging that Farmland Foods did not pay employees for the time they spent getting into and out of safety gear, cleaning it and walking to and from their workstations, also known as “donning and doffing,” has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri.
David T. Butsch of the Clayton, Mo., law firm of Butsch Simeri Fields LLC, along with the St. Paul, Minn., firm of Larson · King LLP and The Farwell Law Firm LLC, of Kirksville, Mo., filed the suit on April 29, 2010. The name of the case is Jacob Ingersoll et al. v. Farmland Foods, Inc., no. 5:10-cv-06046-REL.
Five Farmland employees working in the company’s Milan, Mo., processing facility filed suit on behalf of themselves, as well as current and former workers in the facility. The workers allege that federal and state wage-and-hour laws were violated when the company requires employees to be ready to work, with personal protective gear on, when the production line starts running but refuses to pay them for the time spent gearing up at the beginning of the day or cleaning up at the end of the workday.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, “donning and doffing” time is work time that must be compensated.
“Farmland’s workers are entitled to be paid the full amount of wages they have earned,” explains Butsch, “and they want Farmland to revise its pay practices and follow the law.”
Several recent cases involving donning and doffing demonstrate the savings companies hope to achieve by violating the wage-and-hour laws:
- In 2007, Gold’n Plump Poultry Inc. agreed to pay $1.2 million to settle donning-and-doffing claims brought by poultry workers in its Minnesota and Wisconsin processing plants.
- In 2006, George’s Processing Inc. agreed to pay $1.24 million in back pay to its poultry workers in a settlement negotiated with the Department of Labor.
- Workers at various meat and poultry processing companies, including IBP Inc. and Perdue Farms, have benefited from settlements and judgments ranging from $8.4 million to $10 million in back pay.
Mr. Butsch invites employees of the Milan plant to contact his firm at 314-863-5700 or firstname.lastname@example.org if they wish to obtain information on the lawsuit and how they can participate. Federal law prohibits an employer from retaliating against any employee who seeks enforcement of labor laws.
David T. Butsch
Butsch Simeri Fields LLC
231 S. Bemiston Ave., Suite 260
Clayton, MO 63105