Comma comeuppance: When rogue punctuation proves costly

(BBC)—A US dairy faces an overtime bill of about $10m (£8m), after a group of truck drivers won a pay dispute that hinged on some punctuation. An appeal court sided with the drivers, saying the lack of a comma in the state of Maine’s overtime laws made the regulations too ambiguous. The ruling has been…

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A Few Words about the Ten-Million-Dollar Serial Comma

(The New Yorker) —The case of the Maine milk-truck drivers who, for want of a comma, won an appeal against their employer, Oakhurst Dairy, regarding overtime pay (O’Connor v. Oakhurst Dairy) has warmed the hearts of punctuation enthusiasts everywhere, from the great dairy state of Wisconsin to the cheese haven of Holland. Nothing, but nothing—profanity, transgender…

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Lack of Oxford Comma Could Cost Maine Company Millions in Overtime Dispute

(NY Times) — A class-action lawsuit about overtime pay for truck drivers hinged entirely on a debate that has bitterly divided friends, families and foes: The dreaded — or totally necessary — Oxford comma, perhaps the most polarizing of punctuation marks. What ensued in the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and…

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Lack of comma sense ignites debate after ruling in $10M suit

(Washington Post) — It all came down to a missing comma, and not just any one. And it’s reignited a longstanding debate over whether the punctuation is necessary. A federal appeals court decided this week to keep alive a lawsuit by dairy drivers seeking more than $10 million in an overtime pay dispute. It concerned Maine’s…

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Oxford comma helps drivers win dispute about overtime pay

(The Guardian) — Never let it be said that punctuation doesn’t matter. In Maine, the much-disputed Oxford comma has helped a group of dairy drivers in a dispute with a company about overtime pay. The Oxford comma is used before the words “and” or “or” in a list of three or more things. Also known as the…

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A missing comma keeps Oakhurst Dairy labor lawsuit alive

(Bangor Daily News) — A Maine labor dispute appeal decided on Monday hinged on perhaps the nerdiest, most contentious punctuation debate of all — the Oxford comma. The U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a group of Oakhurst Dairy truck drivers, who sued the company’s owners three years ago for unpaid overtime wages. The…

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One comma left out gives judge pause in Oakhurst overtime case

(Portland Press Herald) — Grammarians rejoice! The Oxford comma survives. Chances are you’ve never heard of this arcane little punctuation mark, considered by many a useless piece of clutter amid the complexities of proper English usage. Only, it isn’t. In fact, the absence of an Oxford comma, also known as a serial comma, could soon cost…

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Oxford Comma Wins Court Case For Workers

(The Onion) — Maine dairy workers argued in a recent lawsuit that the lack of an Oxford comma in their contract rendered its overtime exemptions too vague and that they were thus eligible for overtime wages, an argument that won them the case. What do you think? “What, now you’ve got to follow grammar rules to…

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Oakhurst Drivers to Proceed with Class-Action Overtime Suit

(Mainebiz) — A federal appeals court has ruled in favor of five Maine truck drivers seeking to bring a class-action suit against Oakhurst Dairy over alleged unpaid overtime. The drivers, who had been on Oakhurst’s payroll from a few years to more than a decade, claim the Portland-based maker of milk, cream, cottage cheese and…

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