On March 15, the BDN reported on a lawsuit between Oakhurst Dairy and a group of their drivers. The decision was overturned because of the Oxford comma, a hotly debated punctuation mark. Nick McCrea writes:
In the Oakhurst labor dispute, much of the focus is on a sentence in state law that describes how workers aren’t eligible for overtime pay if they’re involved in “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.”
Note, there’s no serial comma between “shipment” and “or.”
The question this ruling hinged on: Is “packing for shipment or distribution” a single overtime-exempt activity, or are “packing for shipment” and “distribution” two distinct activities that are both exempt?
This story was picked up by a number of outlets around the world, from The New York Times to Breitbart to the New Zealand-based Stuff to The Onion, where the person-on-the-street column “American Voices” gave some funny takes.