This essay highlights the facts of the case of IBP, Inc v Alvarez in the peer review. It outlines the decision of the initial court and further displays the other decisions in the subsequent courts. It also addresses the principles underlined in the cases outlined. The introduction deals with the facts of the case and the rest of the ideas are discussed in the subsequent sections of the essay.Facts of the case.
The case of IBP, Inc v Alvarez, the employees sued Barber Food and IBP in two separate cases. The suit was brought before the federal district court. The allegations brought forth by the employees was that the companies in question had violated or acted against the Fair Labor Standards Act by failing to pay them for the time they spent walking to the worksite. This was after they had worn the required equipment. The district court and later on the First Circuit passed a ruling that was against the Barber employees. A separate district court gave passed a ruling that the IBP must compensate the employees for the disputed time. The ninth circuit accepted the ruling. The cases, however, were consolidated by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The district courts and the court of Appeal had deliberated on this case, a decision that was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. The first circuit involved Tum v Barber Foods, Inc in the year 2003. The matter that was deliberated on by the initial courts was the application of the forty-four employees who were seeking for a class action against the Barber Foods, Inc. The Barber Food, Inc had a successful argument initially at the lower courts. Their argument was that the time spent performing the activities of donning and doffing protective gear was minimal. It was estimated at 2-4 minutes per day that was actually not included in productive work activity. This made the court buy the line of argument and thus ruled in their favor. It was decided that the Barber Foods was not inclined in any manner to compensate the employees for the alleged time spent in changing, waiting or walking between the changing room and the meatpacking floor.The decision of the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court overturned the previous decisions of the District Courts and the Appeal Court. The ruling of the Supreme Court was unanimous in the favor of the workers. The Court released an opinion that donning protective gear and the to and fro walking between the changing areas are very integral and indispensable to the principal activities of the job. It, therefore, goes without say that such an activity must be compensated. The opinion of the Court was moderated and sided with the argument of the workers. The waiting time “two steps removed from principal activities” is not provided for, however, under the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA). It was further noted by the Court that, the former notwithstanding, the time spent to doff the protective gear before getting out at the end of the workday is indeed compensable. The other important fact that formed the decision taken by the Court was that hours of compensation at work start at the very time the employer asks employees to arrive. In the circumstance that the employees are forced to wait at the start of their shift because the employer is not having the protective gear necessary, they are entitled to compensation. They will be compensated for the time spent in waiting.The underlying legal principles involved.
The case of IBP, Inc v Alvarez raised a number of principles of which some were applied at the initial courts and the rest at the Supreme Court. Just to begin with, the Supreme Court in support of its recent decision identified quite a number of legal issues. The first issue under determination was the idea of walking that occurred during the workday. This is viewed as an aspect that could have a negative effect to the health of the workman. It is however seen as something that could be good for the paychecks at any time that the employees spend moving or rather walking after the donning of which was prior to the doffing of the requisite safety equipment. This should and must now be compensated under the Fair Labor Standards Act. This decision of the Supreme Court is good news for the employees but does not augur well with the employers. The decision is not well taken by the employers as it increases the liability and expenditure on their part. This decision still creates one more issue when applied at the work place. It could not have been an employer-specific problem, but the reality of the application of the decision is that it creates avenues for different compensation treatment for any situation of a similar manner.
The decision of the Supreme Court led to the review of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The aforementioned Act was enacted by the Congress in the year 1938. It was meant to end labor practices which adversely affected the health, efficiency and general welfare of the workers. The Act advocates the compensation of the employees for all the time required by the employer or permits them to work. It was under this Act that a number of legal issues were drawn and even prompting the filing of the suit. The argument guided the First Circuit while deliberating on the idea in the case of Steiner v Mitchell. It was from this case that they held that the time spent donning and doffing required protective equipment. They took the position that such time was compensable because such activities were integral and formed part and parcel of the principal activity. The same court, on the other hand, found that the time spent by employees in line as they awaited equipment was non-compensable. The legal argument in support of this decision was that waiting time would qualify as a preliminary if not a post preliminary activity. This was supported under the Portal-to-Portal Act.
The position of the First Circuit was affirmed by the Ninth Circuit. It was found that the time spent in donning and doffing unique equipment was compensable as it formed an integral if not an indispensable part of the activity. It was noted that donning and doffing fell under an exception to Steiner’s case under the Portal-to-Portal Act which advocates the compensation of the preliminary and preliminary compensations. The Ninth Court however moved away from the position of the First Circuit in the matter of time spent in walking in walking to and from the station. It took the position that the said time was compensable. The reasoning in support of the decision was that the workday started with the donning of the unique equipment. It was argued out donning was in the sense a preliminary activity and thus was compensable. It further took the position that the activities that followed after formed part of the workday hence compensable.
The final argument was that of the Supreme Court of the United States. The employees and the their amici argued that the decision of the Supreme Court in Steiner’s case mandated a finding that donning and doffing which are required by IBP and Barber Foods constituted activities that were principal under the Portal-to-Portal Act. As the two activities formed an integral part at the same time were indispensable. This was an exclusion of time spent in walking. It was stated further that the walking did occur after a principal activity which was donning. It even took place prior to the principal activity which was doffing and therefore exempted from the Portal-to-Portal Act. This was even reaffirmed by the fact that the Portal-to-Portal Act did not interfere with the compensability of activities performed within the workday.Conclusion.In conclusion, it comes out clearly that the case of IBP, Inc v Alvarez identifies a number of legal issues that have been highlighted in the paragraphs above. It does not only bring the legal issues but also makes a step into change of certain acts and principles. It is a source of encouragement to the employers to minimize or even to do away with barriers to the access and use of productive gears. It alerts the employers who devalue the idea of providing protection to their employees by having inadequate or insufficient gear or small. It further shades light into the aspect of means of changing distance which in most cases suffer reduced sufficiency thus resulting to paid, productive work hours.
Caroll, L. M. (2005.). Employmwnt Law--Fair Labor Standards Act Requires Compensation for Employees Walking To and From Workstations--IBP, Inc.v.Alvarez,126 S. Ct. 514. Suffolk UL Rev. 40, 769-1049.