IBP, Inc. v. Gabriel Alvarez: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 2003

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IBP, Inc. v. Gabriel Alvarez, 339 F.3d 894 (9th Cir. 2003)
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 2003

In 1998, employees of IBP, Inc. filed a class action suit against IBP, Inc. in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, charging that certain of IBP’s payment practices violated Fair Labor Standards Act. Employees of IBP, Inc. wanted pay under the FSLA for practical time spent walking to their work stations after retrieving their work attire at their locker before the beginning of the work shifts, and time spent walking from their work stations before discarding their attire at the end of the work shifts.

The District Court awarded no compensation for walking from the locker to the cafeteria because they found that the time that was given to them was a reasonable amount of time for them to perform. The Ninth Circuit believed that because respondents’ donning and doffing is an vital and necessary preliminary activity included by respondents’ principal work activity, all activities performed afterward such as walking accordingly occur during the ‘principal’ workday and is compensable. The court rejected the petitioner’s argument that Section 4(a)(1) of the Portal Act makes clear that the walking time at issue is not compensable even if it follows clothes changing. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the employees of IBP, Inc. because putting on protective gear and walking to and from changing areas are “integral and indispensable” to the job's “principal activities”.

The issues presented to the Supreme Court for determination were whether the time spent walking between donning and doffing areas and workstations, and the time spent waiting to put on protective equipment were compensable under the FLSA as amended by the Portal-to-Portal Act.

Yes. The Supreme Court held that time spent walking following putting on protective equipment and prior to removing...
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