Judge Rules Workers Can Bring State Law Claims Against Agriprocessors for Unpaid Wages

Leading Kosher Meatpacker’s Claims Dismissed

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa– LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – On October 22, in U.S. Federal District Court, Chief Judge Linda Reade dismissed a motion from the country’s leading kosher meatpacking company, Agriprocessors, to limit worker participation in a class-action lawsuit filed against the business on behalf of its employees.

Agriprocessors claimed that the state law action was incompatible with federal rules which require employees to sign a form requesting participation in the case. Judge Reade ruled in favor of the workers and found jurisdiction over the Iowa state law claim which allows all employees to participate unless they sign a form indicating otherwise. As a result, all affected current and former workers will be represented in the lawsuit, unless they choose to opt out. They will also be able to obtain compensation for unpaid non-overtime hours, relief which is not available under federal law.

The lawsuit alleges that Agriprocessors, a kosher slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa, has not compensated workers for the time they spend preparing for work at the beginning of the day and cleaning up at the end of it. The obligation to pay such compensation has recently been reconfirmed by the Supreme Court.

“This favorable decision will allow us to move forward and fight for every single worker who is owed hundreds or even thousands of dollars in unpaid wages without having to jump through hoops and burden them with more paperwork,” says Attorney Brian McCafferty, who will be one of the lawyers representing the workers in U.S. District Court.

Agriprocessors is one of the nation’s largest kosher meat producers. It runs a beef, lamb and poultry processing plant in Postville, Iowa. Agriprocessors produces products under the following brand names: Aaron’s Best, Aaron’s Choice, European Glatt, Iowa Best Beef, Nevel, Shor Harbor , Rubashkin’s, Supreme Kosher, and David’s.

Working conditions and food safety at the Agriprocessors slaughterhouse have also been under scrutiny in the past year.

For more information go to www.eyeonagriprocessors.com.

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