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made by other officials or employees are not regulations, orders, rulings, approvals, interpretations, administrative practices or enforcement policies of the agency within the meaning of sections 9 and 10.


8790.20 Right of employees to sue; restric

tions on representative actions.

Section 16(b) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, as amended by section 5 of the Portal Act, no longer permits an employee or employees to designate an agent or representative (other than a member of the affected group) to maintain, an action for and in behalf of all employees similarly situated. Collective actions brought by an employee or employees (a real party in interest) for and in behalf of himself or themselves and other employees similarly situated may still be brought in accordance with the provisions of section 16(b). With respect to these actions, the amendment provides that no employee shall be a party plaintiff to any such action unless he gives his consent in writing to become such a party and such consent is filed in the court in which such action is brought. The amendment is expressly limited to actions which are commenced on or after the date of enactment of the Portal Act. Representative actions which were pending on May 14, 1947 are not affected by this amendment. 126 However, under sections 6 and 8 of the Portal Act, a collective or representative action commenced prior to such date will be barred as to an individual claimant who was not specifically named as a party plaintiff to the action on or before September 11, 1947, if his written consent to become such a party is not filed with the court within a prescribed period. 127

sentative Walter, 93 Cong. Rec. 1496-1497, 4389; statement by Representative Robsion, 93 Cong. Rec. 1500; statement by Senator Thye, 93 Cong. Rec. 4452.

126 Conference Report, p. 13.

127 Conference Report, pp. 14, 15. The claimant must file this consent within the shorter of the following two periods: (1) Two years, or (2) the period prescribed by

§ 790.21 Time for bringing employee suits.

(a) The Portal Act 128 provides a statute of limitations fixing the time limits within which actions by employees under section 16(b) of the Fair Labor Standards Act 129 may be commenced, as follows:

(1) Actions to enforce causes of action accruing on or after May 14, 1947; two years. (2) Actions to enforce causes of action accruing before May 14, 1947. 130 Two years or period prescribed by applicable State statute of limitations, whichever is shorter. These are maximum periods for bringing such actions, measured from the time the employee's cause of action accrues to the time his action is commenced. 131

(b) The courts have held that a cause of action under the Fair Labor Standards Act for unpaid minimum wages or unpaid overtime compensation and for liquidated damages "accrues" when the employer fails to pay the required compensation for any workweek at the regular pay day for the period in which the workweek

the applicable State Statute of limitations. See Conference Report, p. 15.

128 See sections 6-8 inclusive.

129 Sponsors of the legislation stated that the time limitations prescribed therein apply only to the statutory actions, brought under the special authority contained in section 16(b), in which liquidated damages may be recovered, and do not purport to affect the usual application of State statutes of limitation to other actions brought by employees to recover wages due them under contract, at common law, or under State statutes. Statements of Representative Gwynne, 93 Cong. Rec. 1491, 1557-1588; colloquy between Representative Robsion, Vorys, and Celler, 93 Cong. Rec. 1495.

130 This refers to actions commenced after September 11, 1947. Such actions commenced on or between May 14, 1947 and September 11, 1947 were left subject to State statutes of limitations. As to collective and representatives actions commenced before May 14, 1947, section 8 of the Portal Act makes the period of limitations stated in the text applicable to the filing, by certain individual claimants, of written consents to become parties plaintiff. See Conference Report, p. 15; § 790.20 of this part. 131 Conference Report, pp. 13-15.

ends. 132 The Portal Act 133 provides that an action to enforce such a cause of action shall be considered to be "commenced":

(1) In individual actions, on the date the complaint is filed;

(2) In collective or class actions, as to an individual claimant.

(i) On the date the complaint is filed, if he is specifically named therein as a party plaintiff and his written consent to become such is filed with the court on that date, or

(ii) On the subsequent date when his written consent to become a party plaintiff is filed in the court, if it was not so filed when the complaint was filed or if he was not then named therein as a party plaintiff. 134

(c) The statute of limitations in the Portal Act is silent as to whether or not the running of the two-year period of limitations may be suspended for any cause. 135 In this connection, atten

132 Reid v. Solar Corp., 69 F. Supp. 626 (N.D. Iowa); Mid-Continent Petroleum Corp. v. Keen, 157 F. (2d) 310, 316 (C.A. 8). See also Brooklyn Savings Bank v. O'Neil, 324 U.S. 697; Rigopoulos v. Kervan, 140 F. (2d) 506 (C.A. 2).

In some instances an employee may receive, as a part of his compensation, extra payments under incentive or bonus plans, based on factors which do not permit computation and payment of the sums due for a particular workweek or pay period until some time after the pay day for that period. In such cases it would seem that an employee's cause of action, insofar as it may be based on such payments, would not accrue until the time when such payment should be made. Cf. Walling v. Harnischfeger Corp., 325 U.S. 427.

133 Section 7. See also Conference Report, p. 14.

134 This is also the rule under section 8 of the Portal Act as to individual claimants, in collective or representative actions commenced before May 14, 1947, who were not specifically named as parties plaintiff on or before September 11, 1947.

135 A limited suspension provision was contained in section 2(d) of the House bill, but was eliminated by the Senate. Neither the Senate debates, the Senate committee report, nor the conference committee report, indicate the reason for this. While the courts have held that in a proper case, a statute of limitations may be suspended by causes not mentioned in the statute itself (Braun v. Sauerwein, 10 Wall. 218, 223; see also Richards v. Maryland Ins. Co., 8

tion is directed to section 205 of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act of 1940, 136 as amended, which provides that the period of military service shall not be included in the period limited by law for the bringing of an action or proceeding, whether the cause of action shall have accrued prior to or during the period of such service.

8790.22 Discretion of court as to assessment of liquidated damages.

(a) Section 11 of the Portal Act provides that in any action brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act to recover unpaid minimum wages, unpaid overtime, compensation, or liquidated damages, the court may, subject to prescribed conditions, in its sound discretion award no liquidated damages or award any amount of such damages not to exceed the amount specified in section 16 (b) of the Fair Labor Standards Act. 137

Cranch 84, 92; Bauserman v. Blunt, 147 U.S. 647), they have also held that when the statute has once commenced to run, its operation is not suspended by a subsequent disability to sue, and that the bar of the statute cannot be postponed by the failure of the creditor (employee) to avail himself of any means within his power to prosecute or to preserve his claim. Bauserman v. Blunt, 147 U.S. 647, 657; Smith v. Continental Oil Co., 59 F. Supp. 91, 94.

136 Act of October 17, 1940, ch. 888, 54 Stat. 1178, as amended by the act of October 6, 1942, ch. 581, 56 Stat. 769 (50 U.S.C.A. App. sec. 525).

137 Section 16(b) of the Fair Labor Standards Act provides that an employer who violates the minimum-wage or overtime provisions of the act shall be liable to the affected employees not only for the amount of the unpaid minimum wages or unpaid overtime compensation, as the case may be, but also for an additional equal amount as liquidated damages. The courts have held that this provision is "not penal in its nature" but rather that such damages "constitute compensation for the retention of a workman's pay" where the required wages are not paid "on time." Under this provision of the law, the courts have held that the liability of an employer for liquidated damages in an amount equal to his underpayments of required wages become fixed at the time he fails to pay such wages when due, and the courts were given no discretion, prior to the Continued

(b) The conditions prescribed as prerequisites to such an exercise of discretion by the court are two: (1) The employers must show to the satisfaction of the court that the act or omission giving rise to such action was in good faith; and (2) he must show also, to the satisfaction of the court, that he had reasonable grounds for believing that his act or omission was not a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. If these conditions are met by the employer against whom the suit is brought, the court is permitted, but not required, in its sound discretion to reduce or eliminate the liquidated damages which would otherwise be required in any judgment against the employer. This may be done in any action brought under section 16(b) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, regardless of whether the action was instituted prior to or on or after May 14, 1947, and regardless of when the employee activities on which it is based were engaged in. If, however, the employer does not show to the satisfaction of the court that he has met the two conditions mentioned above, the court is given no discretion by the statute, and it continues to be the duty of the court to award liquidated damages. 138

(c) What constitutes good faith on the part of an employer and whether he had reasonable grounds for believing that his act or omission was not a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act are mixed questions of fact and law, which should be determined by objective tests. 139 Where an employer makes the required showing, it is for the court to determine in its sound discretion what would be just according to the law on the facts shown.

(d) Section 11 of the Portal Act does not change the provisions of section 16(b) of the Fair Labor Standards Act under which attorney's fees and court

enactment of the Portal-to-Portal Act, to relieve him of any portion of this liability. See Brooklyn Savings Bank v. O'Neil, 324 U.S. 697; Overnight Motor Transp. Co. v. Missel, 316 U.S. 572.

138 See Conference Report, p. 17; remarks of Representative Walter, 93 Cong. Rec. 1496-1497; President's message of May 14, 1947, to the Congress on approval of the Portal Act, 93 Cong. Rec. 5281.

139 Cf. §§ 790.13 to 790.16.

costs are recoverable when judgment is awarded to the plaintiff.



791.1 Introductory statement. 791.2 Joint employment.

AUTHORITY: 52 Stat. 1060, as amended; 29 U.S.C. 201-219.

§ 791.1 Introductory statement.

The purpose of this part is to make available in one place the general interpretations of the Department of Labor pertaining to the joint employment relationship under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.1 It is intended that the positions stated will serve as "a practical guide to employers and employees as to how the office representing the public interest in its enforcement will seek to apply it." 2 These interpretations contain the construction of the law which the administrator believes to be correct and which will guide him in the performance of his duties under the Act, unless and until he is otherwise directed by authoritative decisions of the courts or he concludes upon reexamination of an interpretation that it is incorrect. To the extent that prior administrative rulings, interpretations, practices, and enforcement policies relating to sections 3 (d), (e) and (g) of the Act, which define the terms "employer", "employee", and "employ", are inconsistent or in conflict with the principles stated in this part they are hereby rescinded. The interpretations contained in this part may be relied upon in accordance with section 10 of the Portal-to-Portal Act,' so long as

129 U.S.C. 201-219. Under Reorganization Plan No. 6 of 1950 and pursuant to General Order No. 45-A, issued by the Secretary of Labor on May 24, 1950, interpretations of the provisions (other than the child labor provisions) of the act are issued by the Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division on the advice of the Solicitor of Labor. See 15 FR 3290.

2 Skidmore v. Swift and Company, 323 U.S. 134, 138.

'61 Stat. 84; 29 U.S.C. 251-262.

they remain effective and are not modified, amended, rescinded, or determined by judicial authority to be incorrect.

[23 FR 5905, Aug. 5, 1958)

§ 791.2 Joint employment.

(a) A single individual may stand in the relation of an employee to two or more employers at the same time under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, since there is nothing in the act which prevents an individual employed by one employer from also entering into an employment relationship with a different employer. A determination of whether the employment by the employers is to be considered joint employment or separate and distinct employment for purposes of the act depends upon all the facts in the particular case. If all the relevant facts establish that two or more employers are acting entirely independently of each other and are completely disassociated with respect to the employment of a particular employee, who during the same workweek performs work for more than one employer, each employer may disregard all work performed by the employee for the other employer (or employers) in determining his own responsibilities under the Act. On the other hand, if the facts establish that the employee is employed jointly by two or more employers, i.e., that employment by one employer is not completely disassociated from employment by the other employer(s), all of the employee's work for all of the joint employers during the workweek is considered as one employment for purposes of the Act. In this event, all joint employers are responsible, both individually and jointly, for compliance with all of the applicable provisions of the act, including the overtime provisions, with respect to the entire employment for the particular workweek.” In discharg

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ing the joint obligation each employer may, of course, take credit toward minimum wage and overtime requirements for all payments made to the employee by the other joint employer or employers.

(b) Where the employee performs work which simultaneously benefits two or more employers, or works for two or more employers at different times during the workweek, a joint employment relationship generally will be considered to exist in situations such as:

(1) Where there is an arrangement between the employers to share the employee's services, as, for example, to interchange employees; ' or


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ees generally should be paid overtime for working more than the number of hours specified in section 7(a), irrespective of the number of employers they have. Of course, an employer should not be held responsible for an employee's action in seeking, independently, additional part-time employment. But where two or more employers stand in the position of "joint employers" and permit or require the employee to work more than the number of hours specified in section 7(a), both the letter and the spirit of the statute require payment of overtime.

Mid-Continent Pipeline Co., et al. v. Hargrave, 129 F. 2d 655 (C.A. 10); Slover v. Wathen, 140 F. 2d 258 (C.A. 4); Mitchell v. Bowman, 131 F. Supp., 520 (M.D. Ala. 1954); Mitchell v. Thompson Materials & Construction Co., et al., 27 Labor Cases Para. 68, 888; 12 WH Cases 367 (S.D. Calif. 1954).

'Section 3(d) of the Act; Greenberg v. Arsenal Building Corp., et al., 144 F. 2d 292 (C.A. 2).

Dolan v. Day & Zimmerman, Inc., et al., 65 F. Supp. 923 (D. Mass. 1946); McComb v. Midwest Rust Proof Co., et al., 16 Labor Cases Para. 64, 927; 8 WH Cases 460 (E.D. Mo. 1948); Durkin v. Waldron., et al., 130 F. Continued

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13(b)(9) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, as amended. This section provides an exemption from the overtime pay provisions of the Act for certain employees employed by certain small market radio and television stations. This exemption was added to the Act by the 1961 amendments. It is the purpose of this bulletin to make available in one place the interpretations of the provisions in section 13(b) (9) which will guide the Secretary of Labor and the Administrator in the performance of their duties under the Act unless and until they are otherwise directed by authoritative decisions of the courts or conclude, upon re-examination of an interpretation, that it is incorrect.

§ 793.1 Reliance upon interpretations.

The interpretations of the law contained in this part are official interpretations which may be relied upon as provided in section 10 of the Portalto-Portal Act of 1947. All prior opinions, rulings and interpretations which are inconsistent with the interpretations in this bulletin are rescinded and withdrawn.

§ 793.2 General explanatory statement.

Some employees of radio and television stations perform work which may be exempt from the minimum wage and overtime requirements under section 13(a)(1) of the Act. This 13(a)(1) exemption applies to employees employed in a bona fide executive, administrative or professional capacity, or in the capacity of outside salesman, as these terms are defined and delimited by regulations of the Secretary. This exemption continues to be available for employees of radio and television stations who meet the requirements for exemption specified in part 541 of this chapter. The section 13(b) (9) exemption, which is an exemption from the overtime provisions of the Act, but not from the minimum wage requirements, applies to a limited classification of employees employed by small market radio and television stations whose employment meets the requirements for the exemption. These requirements and their meaning and

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