adding fuel to the nerdy fire.
truck drivers who were suing Oakhurst Dairy for unpaid overtime wages,
the Bangor Daily News reports.
comma in a list of activities deemed exempt from overtime pay.
a “serial comma.” It’s the comma right after the next-to-last item in a list of three
or more things, before the words “and” or “or.”
comma can cause confusion.
notably, the AP Style Guide, which The Huffington Post follows. (Though
AP does specify that writers should insert the the comma when leaving it
out would cause misreading.)
law in question states that workers must get overtime pay if they work more
than 40 hours a week, unless their work falls under an exemption. One of
these exemptions in state law reads as follows:
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.
covered workers who were packing goods for shipment, as well as workers
involved in “distribution” — like the truck drivers. But the truck drivers argued
that the phrase essentially meant “packing for shipment or packing for distribution.”
In other words, the distribution itself was a separate activity not covered by the exemption.
more clear, and “distribution” would have been a more obviously distinct activity.
be read as a separate activity, the drivers noted. And Barron agreed.
preposition ‘for’ that describes the exempt activity of ‘packing,’” he wrote.
“And the drivers read the gerunds each to be referring to stand-alone,
with Oakhurst in saying that “distribution” was intended to be read as a
separate job responsibility. But according to the Bangor Daily News, there
will likely be more punctuation-heavy court proceedings before the case
is settled for good.