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Nation's High Court To Hear Iowa Class-Action Case

Flickr / Jeff Kubina
The U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case next term involving a $5.8 million class-action lawsuit arising from a pork processing plant in northwest Iowa. Tyson Foods Inc. say that employees at its Storm Lake facility don't have enough in common to join in a single class-action lawsuit.

Current and former workers at the Storm Lake plant successfully argued at the appellate level that Tyson shorted their hourly wages by not properly calculating how long it takes to put on and take off protective clothing. But the Arkansas-based company is challenging this ruling, by saying there is not enough evidence to to classify the more than 3,300 plaintiffs as collective for the purposes of a class-action suit. 

The meat processor says some of those named in the class action did not suffer wage loss since employees wear different protective gear depending both on their individual job and personal preference. Furthermore, Tyson says each worker suits up in a distinct order.

In 2011 the high court ruled unanimously that female Wal-Mart employees could not sue their employer for sex discrimination. The court said it was impossible to determine whether the 1.6 million women named in the suit were all treated unfairly since these individuals held a number of different positions at more than 3,000 Wal-Mart stores nationwide.