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Guyton v. Tyson Foods, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

August 25, 2014

Maria Guyton; Dionicio Canuzal, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated individuals, Plaintiffs - Appellants
v.
Tyson Foods, Inc., doing business as Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc., Defendant - Appellee

Submitted February 11, 2014.

Page 755

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 756

Appeal from United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa - Davenport.

For Maria Guyton, Dionicio Canuzal, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated individuals, Plaintiffs - Appellants: Roger K. Doolittle, Doolittle Law Firm, Jackson, MS; Michael Hamilton, Provost & Umphrey, Nashville, TN; Richard Kaspari, Metcalf & Kaspari, Saint Paul, MN; Brian P. McCafferty, Kenney & Mccafferty, Blue Bell, PA; Candis A. McGowan, Robert L. Wiggins Jr., Wiggins & Childs, Birmingham, AL; Jay Madison Smith, Smith & Mcelwain, Sioux City, IA.

For Tyson Foods, Inc., doing business as: Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc., Defendant - Appellee: Emily L. Aldrich, Emily Burkhardt Vicente, Hunton & Williams, Los Angeles, CA; Allison Balus, Steven D. Davidson, Thomas Edwin Johnson, Baird & Holm, Omaha, NE; Michael J. Mueller, Evangeline C. Paschal, Hunton & Williams, Washington, DC; Thomas Walsh, Bryan & Cave, Saint Louis, MO.

Before SMITH, BEAM, and BENTON, Circuit Judges. BEAM, Circuit Judge, concurring in the judgment.

OPINION

Page 757

BENTON, Circuit Judge.

Maria Guyton and Dionicio Canuzal are employees of Tyson Foods, Inc. They represent a class of employees at Tyson's meat-processing facility in Columbus Junction, Iowa. They sued Tyson for not paying wages due under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq., and the Iowa Wage Payment Collection Law (IWPCL), Iowa Code 91A.1 et seq. A jury returned a verdict for Tyson. The employees appeal. Having jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, this court affirms.

I.

The employees are current and former " gang-time" employees at Tyson's facility. The background is similar to that in Lopez v. Tyson Foods, Inc., 690 F.3d 869, 873-75 (8th Cir. 2012) (adapted to the facts of this case):

To calculate the employees' compensable working time, Tyson measures " gang time" --when the employees are at their working stations and the production line is moving. The employees claim Tyson failed to provide FLSA overtime compensation for donning (putting on) personal protective equipment (PPE) and clothing before production and again after lunch, and for doffing (taking off) PPE and clothing before lunch and

Page 758

again after production. The PPE and clothing worn by individual employees vary depending on their role in the process. Tyson classifies items of PPE and clothing as either " unique" or " non-unique" to the meat-processing industry. . . . The employees also seek compensation for transporting the items from lockers to the production floor.
In addition to " gang time," Tyson adds " K-code" time to each employee's paycheck. Before 2007, Tyson paid four minutes of K-code time per day to each [employee in a department where knives were used] in order to compensate for the donning and doffing of unique items. From [February] 2007 to March 2010, Tyson added [several minutes] per day for pre-and post-shift walking time required of the employee. Since March 2010, Tyson has paid 20 to [22] minutes per day in order to compensate for ...

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