330 U.S. 148 (1947), 336, Walling v. Portland Terminal Co.

Docket Nº:No. 336
Citation:330 U.S. 148, 67 S.Ct. 639, 91 L.Ed. 809
Party Name:Walling v. Portland Terminal Co.
Case Date:February 17, 1947
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
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Page 148

330 U.S. 148 (1947)

67 S.Ct. 639, 91 L.Ed. 809

Walling

v.

Portland Terminal Co.

No. 336

United States Supreme Court

Feb. 17, 1947

Argued January 17, 1947

CERTIORARI TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS

FOR THE FIRST CIRCUIT

Syllabus

For many years, a railroad has given to prospective yard brakemen a practical course of training lasting seven or eight days. Under the supervision of a yard crew, each trainee first learns routine activities by observation and is then gradually permitted to do actual work under close scrutiny. His activities do not displace any of the regular employees, who do most of the work themselves and must stand immediately by to supervise what the trainee does. The trainee's work does not expedite the railroad's business, but may, and sometimes does, actually impede and retard it. Trainees who complete the course satisfactorily and are certified as competent are listed as eligible for employment when needed. Prior to October 1, 1943, trainees received no pay or allowance of any kind, but, since that date, those who prove their competency and are listed as eligible for employment are given a retroactive allowance of $4 per day for their training period.

Held:

1. Such a trainee is not an "employee" within the meaning of § 3(e) of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Pp. 152-153.

2. Section 14, which authorizes the Wage and Hour Administrator to permit the employment of learners and apprentices at less than the minimum wage prescribed by the Act, is inapplicable to such trainees, since it relates only to learners who are in "employment," and carries no implication that all instructors must either get a permit or pay minimum wages to all learners. Pp. 151-152.

155 F.2d 215, affirmed.

The Wage and Hour Administrator sued a railroad to enjoin alleged violations of §§ 15(a)(2) and 15(a)(5) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 52 Stat. 1060. The District Court denied the injunction. 61 F.Supp. 345. The Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed. 155 F.2d 215. This Court granted certiorari. 329 U.S. 696. Affirmed, p. 153.

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BLACK, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE BLACK delivered the opinion of the Court.

This is an action brought by petitioner against respondent in a Federal District Court to enjoin an alleged violation of §§ 15(a)(2) and 15(a)(5) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 52 Stat. 1060, 1068, 29 U.S.C. §§ 201 et seq., 215(a)(2), (5), which requires as to the employees covered by the Act the maintenance of records concerning their wages and the payment to them of minimum wages. The District Court denied the injunction on the ground that the particular persons involved were not employees, 61 F.Supp. 345, and the Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed on the same ground, one judge dissenting. 155 F.2d 215. See also Walling v. Jacksonville Terminal Co., 148 F.2d 768. Certiorari was granted because of the importance of the questions involved to the administration of the Act. 329 U.S. 696. The findings of fact by the District Court, approved by the Circuit Court of Appeals and not challenged here, show:

For many years, the respondent railroad has given a course of practical training to prospective yard brakemen. This training is a necessary requisite to entrusting them with the important work brakemen must do. An applicant for such jobs is never accepted until he has had this preliminary training, the average length of which is seven or eight days. If accepted for the training course, an applicant is turned over to a yard crew for instruction. Under this supervision, he first learns the routine activities by observation, and is then gradually permitted to do actual work under close scrutiny. His activities do

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not displace any of the regular employees, who do most of the work themselves and must stand immediately by to supervise whatever the trainees do. The applicant's work does not expedite the company business, but may, and sometimes does, actually impede and retard it. If these trainees complete their course of instruction satisfactorily and are certified as competent, their names are included in a list from which the company can draw when their services are needed. Unless they complete the training and are certified as competent, they are not placed on the list. Those who are certified and not immediately put to work constitute a pool of qualified workmen available to the railroad when needed. Trainees received no pay or allowance of any kind prior to October 1, 1943. At that time, however, the respondent and the collective bargaining agent, the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen, agreed that, for the war period, men who proved their competency and were...

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