On Friday, a federal appeals court sided with two crew chiefs in a dispute over whether they should be paid overtime to drive farm workers to perform tasks such as doing l grocery store, go to the bank and do the laundry.
Crew chiefs Jose Ramirez and Joel Santana filed a lawsuit in 2017 against Statewide Harvesting & Hauling, LLC, a Florida company that harvests the fruit and transports it to processing and packaging plants. From 2014 to 2017, the company mainly employed temporary foreign workers. According to the ruling, it was required under federal law to provide meals or cooking facilities, as well as access to things such as laundry facilities.
Ramirez and Santana argued in the lawsuit that they were entitled to overtime pay for driving responsibilities under federal Fair Labor Standards law. But Statewide Harvesting & Hauling argued the driving fell under an overtime exemption for farm work, according to the ruling. The Atlanta-based appeals court upheld a Florida district judge’s ruling in favor of Ramirez and Santana. Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal William Pryor wrote in a 14-page decision, joined by Justices Robert Luck and Emily Coody Marks, âSantana and Ramirez’s car trips were not farming activities. in the correct sense of the law. They happened off a farm. And they did not directly allow harvesting or secondary activities on the farm, nor were they physically linked to a farm.