Back Pay Lawsuits Dairy Pt 1

Back Pay Lawsuits Dairy Pt 1

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
I’m Bob Larson. Washington’s dairy industry is under siege in the form of 24 class action lawsuits claiming these farms owe three years overtime pay retroactively. There are worries that, if allowed, this ruling could spill over into all of agriculture in the state, a state that until November gave ag an exemption for overtime pay.

Jay Gordon, with the Washington State Dairy Federation, says this is based on, conservatively, that dairies pay between $16 and $20 per hour …

GORDON-2 = 23 … “We just went ahead and used the $16 an hour rates so that this litigation, based on the three-judge minority opinion, says you have to pay three back at overtime rate, so $8 an hour times that 15-20 hours a week per employee, the math works out somewhere around, on the 20 hours, it’s about $48-thousand per employee.”

And breaking that down, Gordon says when you do the math …

GORDON-A = 9 … “If you take that on a typical dairy farm of 10-20 employees, you’re looking at, what, that would be about $480-thousand to a million dollars a farm.”

Gordon says this could just be the beginning …

GORDON-B = 10 … “You know, if they go after every dairy farm in the state, we estimate there’s somewhere between $90 and $120-million in penalties for three years back because of this ruling and change in the law.”

Gordon says he came up with these numbers because dairies typically run between 55-to-60 hours per week for their employees.

Tune in tomorrow for more on the lawsuits against Washington Dairies and why this could push many farms over the edge and out of business completely.

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