Not a Lexis Advance subscriber? Try it out for free.

Auer v. Robbins

Supreme Court of the United States

December 10, 1996, Argued ; February 19, 1997, Decided

No. 95-897.

Opinion

 [*454]  [***86]  [**908]    JUSTICE SCALIA delivered the opinion of the Court.

 ] The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), 52 Stat. 1060, as amended, 29 U.S.C. §§ 201 et seq., exempts "bona fide executive, administrative, or professional" employees from overtime pay requirements. This case presents the question whether the Secretary of Labor's "salary-basis" test for determining an employee's exempt status reflects a permissible reading of the statute as it applies to public-sector employees. We also consider whether the Secretary has reasonably interpreted the salary-basis test to deny an  [*455]  employee salaried status (and thus grant him overtime pay) when his compensation may "as a practical matter" be adjusted in ways inconsistent with the test.

Petitioners are sergeants and a lieutenant employed by the St. Louis Police Department. They brought suit in 1988 against respondents, members of the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners, seeking payment of overtime pay that they claimed was owed under § 7(a)(1) of the FLSA, 29 U.S.C. § 207(a)(1). Respondents argued that petitioners were not entitled to [****9]  such pay because they came within the exemption provided by § 213(a)(1) for "bona fide executive, administrative, or professional" employees.]

Under regulations promulgated by the Secretary, one requirement for exempt status under § 213(a)(1) is that the employee earn a specified minimum amount on a "salary basis." 29 CFR §§ 541.1(f), 541.2(e), 541.3(e) (1996). According to the regulations, "an employee will be considered to be paid 'on a salary basis' . . . if under his employment agreement he regularly receives each pay period on a weekly, or less frequent basis, a predetermined amount constituting all or part of his compensation, which amount is not subject to reduction because of variations in the quality or quantity of the work  [***87]  performed." § 541.118(a). Petitioners contended that the salary-basis test was not met in their case because, under the terms of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Manual, their compensation could be reduced for a variety of disciplinary infractions related to the "quality or quantity" of work performed. Petitioners also claimed that they did not meet ] the other requirement for exempt status under § 213(a)(1): that their duties be of [****10]  an executive, administrative, or professional nature. See §§ 541.1(a)-(e), 541.2(a)-(d), 541.3(a)-(d).

 The District Court found that petitioners were paid on a salary basis and that most, though not all, also satisfied the  [*456]  duties criterion. The Court of Appeals affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding that both the salary-basis test and the duties test were satisfied as to all petitioners. 65 F.3d 702 (CA8 1995).We granted certiorari. 518 U.S. 1016 (1996). 4

Read The Full CaseNot a Lexis Advance subscriber? Try it out for free.

Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.

519 U.S. 452 *; 117 S. Ct. 905 **; 137 L. Ed. 2d 79 ***; 1997 U.S. LEXIS 1272 ****; 65 U.S.L.W. 4136; 133 Lab. Cas. (CCH) P33,490; 97 Cal. Daily Op. Service 1157; 97 Daily Journal DAR 1673; 10 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 284

FRANCIS BERNARD AUER, ET AL., PETITIONERS v. DAVID A. ROBBINS ET AL.

Prior History:  [****1]  ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE EIGHTH CIRCUIT, Reported at: 1995 U.S. App. LEXIS 25241.

Disposition: 65 F.3d 702, affirmed.

CORE TERMS

deductions, employees, disciplinary, salary-basis, regulations, exempt status, public-sector, exemption, petitioners', manual, salary basis, circumstances, respondents', reduction, salaried

Labor & Employment Law, Scope & Definitions, Exemptions, Executives & Professionals, Wage & Hour Laws, General Overview, Defenses, Civil Procedure, Federal & State Interrelationships, State Sovereign Immunity, State Immunity, Governments, Local Governments, Administrative Boards, Constitutional Law, Claims By & Against, Assignments & Deductions, Congressional Duties & Powers, Reserved Powers, Governmental Employees, Administrative Law, Judicial Review, Standards of Review, Contracts Law, Contract Formation, Consideration, Administrative Proceedings, Agency Rulemaking, Informal Rulemaking, Collective Bargaining & Labor Relations, Labor Arbitration, Discipline, Layoffs & Terminations, Clearly Erroneous Standard of Review