IBP, INC. v. ALVAREZ

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
03-1238
Petitioner 
Abdela Tum, et al.
Respondent 
Gabriel Alvarez, Individually and on Behalf of All Others Similarly Situated, et al.
Consolidation 
Tum v. Barber Foods, No. 04-66
Advocates
(argued the cause for Petitioner in 03-1238 and respondent in 04-66)
(argued the cause for Respondents in 03-1238 and petitioners in 04-66)
(argued the cause for Respondents in 03-1238 and petitioners in 04-66)
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Facts of the Case 

In two separate cases, employees sued Barber Foods and IBP in federal district court. The employees alleged the companies violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by not paying them for time spent walking to the worksite after putting on required equipment. The district court and later the First Circuit ruled against the Barber employees. A separate district court ruled IBP must compensate its employees for the disputed time. The Ninth Circuit agreed. The U.S. Supreme Court consolidated the cases.

Question 

Did the Fair Labor Standards Act require employers to pay employees for time spent walking to and from stations that distributed required safety equipment?

Conclusion 
Decision: 9 votes for Alvarez, 0 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Fair Labor Standards

Yes. Justice John Paul Stevens, for a unanimous Court, wrote that putting on required safety equipment qualified as a "principal activity" under the FLSA. The workday began when employees started that activity and therefore included the subsequent time spent walking to the worksite. The time spent waiting to put on safety equipment before that, however, was not included in the workday because it was a "preliminary" activity under the Portal-to-Portal Act.

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IBP, INC. v. ALVAREZ. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 20 October 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2005/2005_03_1238>.
IBP, INC. v. ALVAREZ, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2005/2005_03_1238 (last visited October 20, 2014).
"IBP, INC. v. ALVAREZ," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed October 20, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2005/2005_03_1238.