Skidmore v. Swift & Co.

323 U.S. 134 (1944)


Seven employees of Swift (D) brought an action under the Fair Labor Standards Act to recover overtime pay, liquidated damages, and attorney fees. They worked for D during the day but agreed under an oral agreement to stay in the fire hall on the company premises three to four nights a week. Their only task was to answer alarms for fire or because sprinklers went off. The alarms were rare and the time required for each emergency rarely exceeded an hour. For each alarm sounded the employees were paid fifty and later sixty-four cents; this was in addition to their fixed compensation. They resided in the firehouse that had heat and AC, sleeping quarters, a pool table, a domino table, and a radio. The men used that time to do whatever they wanted other than to be ready to answer an alarm. The trial court ruled that this time spent was not subject to overtime compensation as interpreted by the Administrator of the Court. The Court of Appeals affirmed.