Gerber Prods. Co. v. Hewitt (Majority, with Dissenting)Annotate this Case
Appellant Gerber Products Company d/b/a Nestle Infant Nutrition d/b/a Nestle Nutrition USA d/b/a Nestle Nutrition USA-Infant Nutrition d/b/a Nestle Nutrition USA-Performance Nutrition (“Gerber”) appealed a circuit court order granting partial summary judgment in favor of appellees in their case alleging Gerber’s liability for failure to pay certain overtime wages in violation of the Arkansas Minimum Wage Act (“AMWA”). Appellees were employed by Gerber at its baby food processing and manufacturing facility located in Fort Smith. Specifically, the employees alleged that Gerber failed to compensate the employees for their time spent donning and doffing clothing and protective gear, sanitizing clothing and equipment, washing their hands, and walking to and from their work stations. Both parties filed motions for summary judgment. The employees argued that there was no genuine issue of material fact that Gerber did not pay the employees for their time spent donning, doffing, washing, walking, and waiting. Both parties’ motions for summary judgment were initially denied. However, a hearing was held on the cross-motions for summary judgment, and the circuit court orally announced from the bench that it was changing its earlier order in favor of the employees, finding that the AMWA required Gerber to “treat the time required by employees to complete the mandatory donning and doffing activities at issue in this lawsuit as compensable work time, notwithstanding any contrary custom or practice under a collective bargaining agreement applicable to those employees or any express agreement.” On appeal, Gerber argued that the circuit court erred in granting the employees’ motion for partial summary judgment. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed the grant of partial summary judgment.