Christensen v. Harris county
By: LN on May 02, 2012 10:01:35 AM

Citation:  529 U.S. 576, 120 Ct. 1655, 146 L.Ed.2d 621 (2000)

Summary:  Petitioners were the deputy sheriffs of Respondent County. Respondents implemented a policy for fixing the maximum limit for the compensatory time. Petitioners filed suit claiming that respondent had violated FLSA by implementing the policy.

Facts:  Petitioners were the deputy sheriffs employed by respondent Harris County. Petitioners had agreed to accept compensatory time in lieu of cash. When petitioners started to accumulate compensatory time respondent was concerned since he did not have adequate funds. As a result of this, respondent searched for ways to reduce the time. It wrote a letter to the United States Labor's Wage and Hour Division which said that only if there was a provision in the agreement that the compensatory time could be scheduled to use. Respondent implemented a policy where he set the maximum time limit for the compensatory time. Petitioners sued claiming that § 205 (0) (5) restricted the employer from implementing such policies. The district court ruled favoring petitioners and held that the policy violated Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The fifth circuit court reversed the judgment of the district court holding that FLSA did not speak on the issue and thus did not prohibit the county from passing such policies. Petitioners sought review of the judgment passed by the fifth circuit court.

Issue:  Whether the appellate court was correct in holding that the FLSA did not speak on the issue and thus did not bar the county from implementing its compensatory time policy?

Holding:  Yes, appellate court was correct in holding that the FLSA did not speak on the issue and this did not bar the county from implementing its compensatory time.

Procedure:  Judgment of the appellate court was affirmed by the United States Supreme Court.

Rule:  An employer has to honor the request of the employee for using the compensatory time within a reasonable period following the request as long as the compensatory time should not disrupt the employer's operations. (Fair Labor Standards Act 1938, § 207 (o) (5)).

Rationale:  The act itself had clearly stated that the use of compensatory time could be compelled by the employer and its language was not ambiguous.

 

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Michael Mordechai YadegariReviewsout of 83 reviews