Nebraska Meat Processing Plant Employees Receive Settlement from Meat Company

On July 19th, a settlement between Cargill Meat Solutions Corp. and a number of employees from its Schuyler, Neb., beef processing plant was approved by Judge Richard G. Kopf of the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska.  The plant employees claimed in their complaint that Cargill had violated overtime and minimum wage requirements set by the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), the Nebraska Wage and Hour Act (“NWHA”), and the Nebraska Wage Payment and Collection Act (“NWPCA”).  Specifically, the employees claimed that they were not paid for required activities performed before shifts, after shifts, and during meal breaks, such as: obtaining tools, equipment and supplies necessary for the performance of their jobs; donning, doffing, and sanitizing various equipment and protective gear; sharpening knives or using “steels” or “mousetraps;” sanitizing knives; and walking between work sites before the first work activity and after the last work activity of the day.  The performance of these activities led to the plant employees working substantial amounts of time “off-the-clock” and without pay.  According to the settlement agreement, the plant employees required to wear the most amount of protective equipment will receive $6.00 per week for a specific period of time already worked, while other employees will receive $4.00 per week. The approved settlement will help to compensate these employees for their previously uncompensated work time.