Employees? at? the? IBP? meat-packing? plant? in Eastern? Washington? filed? a? wage? and? overtime class action under state law and a FLSA collective action. ?The employees prevailed at trial. ?In 2003, the Ninth Circuit issued a very employee-friendly decision on the merits of the case and increased the relief the plaintiffs received.?? The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari and consolidated the case with one from Portland, Maine. The case presented two arcane but important issues of wage and hour law: (1) was the time the employees spent walking between the area where they put on or took off protective clothing and the production area compensable work time and (2) was the time the employees spent waiting to put on the protective gear in the morning compensable.? ?The Court unanimously answered ?yes? to the first question and ?no? to the second. ?Justice Stevens essentially reasoned that the donning of the protective gear started the employees? work day and that all time spent after, but not before, such donning was compensable,?? until?? the?? protective?? gear?? was removed at the end of the day. ?In statutory terms, the Court held that any work activity ?integral and indispensable? to a ?principal activity? was itself a ?principal activity? under the Portal-to-Portal Act, and therefore compensable.?? IBP, Inc. v. Alvarez, No. 03-1238 (Nov. 8, 2005).?U.S. Supreme Court Will Decide Whether Suspension Without Pay and Job Transfer is Adverse Employment Action
The Justices granted certiorari apparently to decide whether a suspension without pay and job transfer are ?adverse employment actions? under Title VII. ?The employee in this case complained of sexual harassment. ?Following her complaint, she was suspended without pay for what the employer claimed was an unrelated reason.?? At trial,? the? employee? won? her? retaliation? claim. The Sixth Circuit held that an adverse employment action is not limited to ultimate employment decisions such as terminations. ?The case also presents an issue regarding attorneys? fees and the standard of proof for punitive damages.?? ?Professor Eric Schnapper at the University? of? Washington? represents? the plaintiff.