Back Pay Lawsuit Pt 3

Back Pay Lawsuit Pt 3

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. Many in ag are worried that two dozen lawsuits filed against dairies for three years back overtime pay, could soon be coming for all of agriculture.

Washington State Tree Fruit Association president Jon DeVaney says the Supreme Court struck down the overtime exemption for Dairy because the legislature hadn’t adequately justified it …

DeVANEY … “So, because it hasn’t done that for all of agriculture, theoretically, we could see similar court cases filed against other growers. We could theoretically see the legislature come in and explain why there are justifications for some exemptions.”

DeVaney says, in the end …

DeVANEY … “It could either be addressed through further litigation or through legislation. Because this came up in the middle of a pandemic and right before the legislative session, there was not a lot of time to do longer term, big planning about what the different pathways for addressing this issue might be.”

The three years retro pay, DeVaney says is currently the biggest worry …

DeVANEY … “The most urgent need really was to make sure that that issue of fairness and not having growers, individual growers, dairymen and potentially others, be subjected to class action lawsuits where whether they win or whether they lose, they’re going to incur huge legal bills as well.”

And that, DeVaney says is why we’re pushing this …

DeVANEY … “Having some clarity on that issue was something that we could all, in agriculture, agree it needed to be addressed immediately, and that’s the issue we took to the legislature.”

Senate Bill 5172 and House Bill 1217 would stop these lawsuits, protecting farmers and jobs.

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