Tyson Pays $32 Million to Settle Wage Lawsuit

By SAM HANANEL | September 21, 2011

Tyson Foods Inc. is paying $32 million to settle a long-running dispute over whether it should compensate poultry plant workers for time they spend putting on and taking off protective clothing.

In a consent decree filed in U.S. District Court in Columbus, Ga., Tyson agreed to make payments averaging around $1,000 per worker to about 17,000 current and former employees around the country.

Workers who sued the Springdale, Ark.-based company claimed meatpacking and food processing employees were deprived of thousands of dollars in lost pay for time they spent donning and doffing safety gear.

Tyson settled a similar dispute last year with the Labor Department by agreeing to change its compensation policy.

Tyson admits to no wrongdoing under the consent decree. The company has 117,000 workers worldwide.

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