Thursday, March 06, 2014
After a four-day trial in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, Sommers Schwartz attorney Matthew L. Turner secured a significant verdict against Sara Lee (now known as Hillshire Brands) in a case alleging violations of federal wage and hour laws.
Policy at the company’s Zeeland, Michigan plant mandated that hourly production laborers to put on or “don” protective gear at the beginning of their shifts and remove or “doff” the gear after their shifts ended, but were not paid for the time spent conducting these tasks. The jury in the Grand Rapids, Michigan federal courtroom determined that Sara Lee violated the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, and also found that its violation of the law was willful, meaning that the 26 production workers who made up the plaintiff class will be able to recover an extra year of damages. A trial to determine back pay and damages Sara Lee will follow.
This is Matt Turner’s second class action victory in eight months. Last July, he obtained a judgment for seven workers at the JBS Packerland meat-processing facility in Plainwell, Michigan over claims that they were paid for time spent each day putting on and taking off their gear and equipment.
Click here to learn about the Sara Lee case and outcome.