A Missing Comma Cost This New England Company $5 Million
According to NPR, due to the lack of a comma in a law about what activities qualify a worker for overtime pay, 120 drivers for the company Oakhurst Dairy (out of Portland, Maine) will be sharing a 5 million dollar legal settlement.
Here is the statement that prompted the suit:
The canning, processing, preserving,
freezing, drying, marketing, storing,
packing for shipment or distribution of:
(1) Agricultural produce;
(2) Meat and fish products; and
(3) Perishable foods.
Since there is no comma between the words "shipment" and "or" the drivers claimed that “packing for shipment or distribution of…” was one activity exempt from overtime, not two separate ones. And may I just point out that as I am writing this, my own grammar checker reminded me to put a comma between the words "overtime" and "not." Oh, the irony!
The moral of the story? Check your punctuation people, or it could cost you!