The Oxford comma has been debated for many years. Advocates argue the punctuation mark provides clarity and avoids confusion. Detractors say the conjunction serves as enough of a delineation between items, the Bangor Daily News reported.
According to Maine state law, the following activities do not count 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.”
The drivers argued, due to a lack of a comma between “packing for shipment” and “or distribution,” that the law refers to the single activity of “packing,” not to “packing” and “distribution” as two separate activities. As the drivers distribute — but do not pack — the goods, this would make them eligible for overtime pay.
Previously, a district court had ruled in the dairy company’s favor, who argued that the legislation “unambiguously” identified the two as separate activities exempt from overtime pay, the Bangor Daily News reported. But the appeals judge sided with the drivers.