Martinez-Cuevas v. Deruyter Brothers Dairy, Inc. and Washington State Dairy Federation and Washington Farm Bureau, Supreme Court of Washington State, No. 96267-7, September 9, 2019

Issue: Whether reasonable grounds exist for granting immunity from overtime obligations to agricultural employers, given that the industry is extremely dangerous for workers and not exceptional in any material way from other industries  

Summary: In this brief, NELP argued that the overtime exemption unjustifiably excludes farmworkers from safety protections mandated by the Washington State Constitution.

The language of the Washington Constitution states that laws necessary to protect persons are necessary within the state. The brief highlighted the prevalence of dangerous injuries within the farmworker industry and the issues with not allowing farmworkers to access critical workplace protections. 

Along with the lack of fundamental safety protections, the brief also argued that the immunity from overtime compensation obstructed the original purpose of the minimum wage act and favored agribusiness to an unlawful degree. NELP co-authored this brief with the United Farm Workers of America and the Families Unidas por la Justicia on behalf of the Plaintiff in this case.  


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