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Court Ruling in Washington State Has Implications for All Agriculture


The Washington Supreme Court has ruled that workers on dairy farms in the state are eligible for overtime pay.  The case relates to claims made by dairy farm workers in 2016 when as a class they worked in excess of 40 hours per week on a large dairy.  The 5-4 ruling of the Washington State Supreme Court will oblige all farmers in the state to pay overtime following the lead of California.  Since the case was instituted in 2016, there is a prospect of three years back-pay that is still the subject of litigation.


The decision will not ultimately be confined to the West coast. Trends tend to migrate eastward and to spontaneously arise on the right coast. Increasing the cost of labor will inevitably lead to higher levels of mechanization, automation and robotics in all segments of agriculture.