By writs of certiorari these two cases were brought here to resolve the conflict between them over the proper interpretation of § 13 (b) (1) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.
Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act relates to the maximum number of hours per week an employer may employ an employee who is engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce.
The employers in both cases are concededly private carriers of property, engaged in interstate commerce. All employees are subject to regulation to promote safety of operation under § 204 (a) (3). In both cases the employees seek recovery solely for the failure of their employers to pay them the time and a half for overtime as
The problem of statutory construction posed by this conflict of circuits should not be solved simply by a literal reading of the exemption section of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the delegation of power section of the Motor Carrier Act. Both sections are parts of important general statutes and their particular language should be construed in the light of the purposes which led to the enactment of the entire legislation. United States v. American Trucking Assns., 310 U.S. 534, 542. The words of the sections under consideration are, however, basic data from which to draw the sections' meaning. Section 13 (b) (1) exempts from the maximum hour limitation of the Fair Labor Standards Act those employees over whom the Interstate Commerce Commission "has power to" prescribe maximum hours of service. Section 204 (a) (3) certainly gives "power to" the Commission to establish maximum hours for the employees here involved. There is a limitation on the authority delegated, urged here by the employees as a condition precedent to the existence of the power. This is that the Commission may establish maximum hours only "if need therefor is found." Since the employees seek unpaid overtime compensation only for the period prior to a finding of need by the Commission, the employees argue that no "power" existed in the Commission during the time for which compensation is claimed. We conclude to the contrary. The power to fix maximum hours has existed in the Commission since the enactment of the Motor Carrier Act in 1935. Before that power could be used, it was necessary to make a
The general purposes of the Fair Labor Standards Act and of the Motor Carrier Act do not point to a different conclusion. With the adoption of the Motor Carrier Act, the national government undertook the regulation of interstate motor transportation to secure the benefits of an efficient system. Safety through the establishment of maximum hours for drivers was an important consideration. Maurer v. Hamilton, 309 U.S. 598, 604, 607. When Congress later came to deal with wages and hours, its primary concern was that persons should not be permitted to take part in interstate commerce while operating with substandard labor conditions. United States v. Darby, 312 U.S. 100, 115. The Fair Labor Standards Act sought a reduction in hours to spread employment as well as to maintain health. Overnight Motor Co. v. Missel, 316 U.S. 572, 576, 577. By exempting the drivers of motors from the maximum hour limitations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, Congress evidently relied upon the Motor Carrier provisions to work out satisfactory adjustments for employees charged with the safety of operations in a business requiring fluctuating hours of employment, without the burden of additional pay for overtime.
Not only does the language of § 13 (b) (1) indicate this Congressional purpose but what slight evidence there is from the legislative history points to the same conclusion. The amendment was adopted to free operators of motor
No. 581, reversed.
No. 725, affirmed.
MR. JUSTICE MURPHY took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.
"The provisions of section 7 shall not apply with respect to (1) any employee with respect to whom the Interstate Commerce Commission has power to establish qualifications and maximum hours of service pursuant to the provisions of section 204 of the Motor Carrier Act, 1935; or (2) any employee of an employer subject to the provisions of Part I of the Interstate Commerce Act."
"No employer shall, except as otherwise provided in this section, employ any of his employees who is engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce —
"(1) for a workweek longer than forty-four hours during the first year from the effective date of this section,
"(2) for a workweek longer than forty-two hours during the second year from such date, or
"(3) for a workweek longer than forty hours after the expiration of the second year from such date,
unless such employee receives compensation for his employment in excess of the hours above specified at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate at which he is employed." 52 Stat. 1063.
"Sec. 204. (a) It shall be the duty of the Commission —
"(1) To regulate common carriers by motor vehicle as provided in this part, and to that end the Commission may establish reasonable requirements with respect to continuous and adequate service, transportation of baggage and express, uniform systems of accounts, records, and reports, preservation of records, qualifications and maximum hours of service of employees, and safety of operation and equipment.
"(2) To regulate contract carriers by motor vehicle as provided in this part, and to that end the Commission may establish reasonable requirements with respect to uniform systems of accounts, records, and reports, preservation of records, qualifications and maximum hours of service of employees, and safety of operation and equipment.
"(3) To establish for private carriers of property by motor vehicle, if need therefor is found, reasonable requirements to promote safety of operation, and to that end prescribe qualifications and maximum hours of service of employees, and standards of equipment. . . ."