Iowa workers employed at a Tyson pork processing plant may have found a path toward victory in the U.S. Supreme Court, allowing them to band together in a class action lawsuit seeking overtime pay. The case developed over workers seeking to recover overtime pay for time they had spent putting on and taking off protective gear and other work-related functions off-the-clock. The Fair Labor Standards Act generally states that as long as an employee is engaging in activities that benefit the employer, the employer has an obligation to pay the employee for his or her time. Generally, employees are protected by the FLSA if an employer earns $500k or more in business annually.
Wage and hour laws establish the basic standards for pay and time worked. The laws cover various employment issues such as minimum wage, tips, overtime, meal and rest breaks, what is or is not counted as time worked, when you must be paid, and what your employer must reimburse you for. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the federal wage and hour law addressing these concerns. Although many states have specific laws of their own, Iowa labor laws do not have laws governing the payment of overtime so federal law applies. Under the FLSA, there are no limits to the number of hours an employer may require an employee to work in one workday or one workweek. However, employers are required to pay employees an overtime rate of one and a half times their regular rate for all hours worked in a workweek in excess of 40, unless the employee is otherwise exempt from the FLSA’s overtime requirements.
Source: New York Times, “Supreme Court Hears Case for Tyson Foods Class-Action Lawsuit”, by Adam Liptaknowv, November 10, 2015.