Tyson Foods found in violation of Fair Labor Standards Act

Thu Nov 5, 2009 2:29pm EST

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Nov. 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Tyson Foods Inc., one of
the nation's largest poultry producers, has been found in violation of the
Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) at its Blountsville, Ala., facility.  The
jury's verdict in federal court in Birmingham resulted from a lawsuit filed by
the U.S. Department of Labor against the company.  

"We are very pleased that the jury in Birmingham has vindicated our position
that employers must pay their workers for the time that they are required to
work," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "This is a victory for workers,
and the result of years of dedicated efforts to protecting the rights of
working Americans on the part of attorneys, investigators and others within
the Labor Department."

"The addition of 250 new wage and hour field investigators -- a staff increase
of more than a third -- along with additional new staff in the department's
Office of the Solicitor, makes clear our commitment to ensuring compliance
with federal labor laws for the benefit of America's working families," added
Secretary Solis. 

The Department of Labor's lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the
Northern District of Alabama.  The federal department alleged that Tyson Foods
did not keep accurate records and failed to pay production line employees for
the time they spend donning and doffing safety and sanitary gear, and
performing other related work activities.  The violations cover the period
from the year 2000 to the present and affect approximately 3,000 current and
former workers at the plant.

The initial investigation began in April 2000 as part of the department's Wage
and Hour Division's poultry enforcement initiative.  The Labor Department
filed the district court complaint in May 2002 following the company's failure
to comply with the law and to pay back wages.  The first jury trial, which
began in February 2009, ended in a mistrial.  The Labor Department chose to
pursue a second trial in August 2009 to secure a ruling that Tyson was failing
to compensate its employees lawfully.  

The Labor Department was represented by attorneys from the agency's Office of
the Solicitor in Atlanta and Washington, D.C.  Today's decision is a critical
achievement in the department's longstanding efforts to ensure that employers
in the meat and poultry industries pay employees for all time worked. 

Information on the FLSA and other federal laws concerning wage and hour issues
is available by calling the Wage and Hour Division's toll-free helpline at
866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or on the Internet at http://www.wagehour.dol.gov.

Hilda L. Solis v. Tyson Foods Inc.; Case number 2:02-CV-1174-VEH

U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at
www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in
alternate format (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST
office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your
request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department is committed
to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to
understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For
more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance. 

SOURCE  U.S. Department of Labor

Dolline Hatchett, +1-202-693-4651, or Joseph De Wolk, +1-202-693-4650, both of
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