The United States Supreme Court has ruled 6-2 to uphold a lower court decision awarding $5.8 million to Iowa employees of Tyson Foods in a dispute over pay for time spent putting on and taking off protective work clothing.
Tyson (and other business interests) had hoped to use the decision in another class-action case — blocking a class action by women against Walmart — to prevent use of statistical evidence against Tyson in this case.
But Justice Anthony Kennedy, in his majority opinion, explicitly rejected the argument by Tyson and its backers to broadly rule out statistical evidence in these sorts of cases. “A categorical exclusion of that sort…would make little sense,” Kennedy wrote.
The opinion relied on a 70-year-old Supreme Court decision that allows workers to use statistical evidence in lawsuits over compensation when their employer doesn’t keep adequate records of their hours.
Dissenters? Alito and Thomas.