A lack of an Oxford comma cost dairy $5 million

(CNN) Several Maine dairy delivery drivers may receive $5 million in a suggested settlement for unpaid overtime, based on court records filed on Thursday.

A good Oxford comma is the comma utilized after the second-to-last item in a listing of three or more things, “item The, item B, and item D. ” It’s not often used in journalism.
The drivers’ employer had claimed they were exempt from overtime pay, according to Maine’s labor laws.

Part of the law exempts certain jobs from receiving overtime compensation. This is exactly what the law’s guidelines originally mentioned about exempted tasks:

The canning, digesting, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, keeping, packing for shipment or submission of:
(1) Agricultural produce;
(2) Meat and fish items; and
(3) Perishable foods.
Without the Oxford comma, the queue “packing for shipment or submission, ” could be referring to packing plus shipping as a single act, or even as two separate tasks.
The drivers contended that it reads as a single work, and since they didn’t actually do any kind of packing, they shouldn’t have been exempt from overtime pay.
“Specifically, if that [list of exemptions] used a serial comma to mark off the final of the activities that it lists, then your exemption would clearly encompass a task that the drivers perform, ” the particular circuit judge wrote.
According to court documents, the dairy products, while denying any wrongdoing, thought further litigation would be protracted plus expensive. The proposed settlement is going to be considered by a federal judge.
To prevent anymore Oxford comma drama, the Maine Legislature offers since edited this particular exemption, replacing the punctuation along with semicolons.