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$22M Verdict Underscores Importance of Employer Compliance with Wage & Hour Laws

Last week, a federal jury returned a more than $22 million verdict – the largest recorded award under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) to date – against East Penn Manufacturing Co., Inc. (“East Penn”), one of the world’s largest battery manufacturers.

The Department of Labor initiated the lawsuit in 2018 based on claims that East Penn did not pay its employees for the time they spent changing into or out of protective gear and showering. These protective measures were specifically undertaken to mitigate exposure to workplace hazards, such as lead. The DOL argued that time spent performing these tasks must be counted as hours worked because the time was “necessary and indispensable” to the employees’ work. East Penn’s failure to appropriately account for this additional work time, the DOL asserted, resulted in employees working more than 40 hours per week without being compensated for the overtime.

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