The Wisconsin Supreme court has upheld a 2014 ruling, in which American food company Hormel owes $195,000 total to 330 workers in back wages.
The dispute in Rock County concerned whether or not workers should be paid for time spent putting on and taking off required clothing and equipment, reports The Associated Press.
While Hormel argued that wearing the gear is not crucial to work activities, state Department of Workforce Development rules require employees to be paid for “all time spent in physical and mental exertion controlled or required by the employer.”
Justice Shirley Abrahamson writes, “Cleanliness and food safety are ‘intrinsic elements’ of preparing and canning food at the Hormel canning facility. The clothing and equipment is integral and indispensable to the performance of the employees' job function… of preparing canned food.”
Hormel responded to the ruling in a statement: “While we are disappointed the decision was not in our favor, we value our employees and respect the court’s decision.”