The Supreme Court, in a 6-2 decision, has sided with Tyson meat packers in a $5.8 million lawsuit claiming they were not compensated for time spent donning and doffing safety gear.
The decision was even more noteworthy for two other facts: The court let the class action certification stand after its previous Walmart decision severely limited class actions, and the court also allowed the plaintiffs’ attorneys to use statistics to estimate the average donning-doffing time of 18 minutes.
Said Justice Anthony Kennedy on the statistical methodology: “A representative or statistical sample, like all evidence, is a means to establish or defend against liability.”
Kennedy also noted that the court let the class action certification stand because the workers were all employed in the same location in Iowa, unlike the earlier Walmart decertification with its nationwide nature.
The case now goes back to the district court where it originated for disposition of the funds awarded by the jury.