Four employees of the Oscar Mayer packaging plant in Davenport, Iowa are filing a class action lawsuit against their employers, claiming that they are not being paid during the time that they are putting on the safety gear required to perform their jobs, having to put them on in a locker room before swiping their time cards. The required safety gear includes: Uniforms, safety footwear, safety glasses, hairnets, and other equipment. At the end of their shift, they are required to punch out, then take off the safety gear.
The lawsuit names Oscar Mayer’s parent company, Kraft Foods Inc. A spokesperson for Kraft Foods says that the company believes that it is in full compliance with all state and federal laws. The Daily Herald reports that “Lawyers for Kraft last month asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take the case; justices have not decided whether to do so. The company and a labor union had argued they reached a compromise not to pay employees for equipment time in a collective bargaining agreement.”
The lawsuit says that Kraft has not kept records of how much time employees have spent putting on and taking off safety equipment, but claims that the practice goes back at least three years.