Supreme Court Holds Employees May Use Representative Evidence to Establish Employer Liability


OMA Connections Partner, Barnes & Thornburg LLP, reports that the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the use of representative statistical evidence as proof of liability in a labor and employment law class action. Tyson Foods, Inc. v Bouaphakeo et al grew out of a wage and hour class action suit initiated by Tyson’s employees, who alleged the company failed to adequately pay them overtime pay for donning and doffing protective gear at a pork processing plant.  The case went to trial, and based largely upon a statistical sample offered by an expert witness for the plaintiff, the jury awarded the class of 3,344 participants $2.9 million in damages. As a result, Barnes & Thornburg cautions that employers should prepare for the possibility of a further increase in wage and hour class actions, particularly in connection with issues involving recordkeeping violations.