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Skidmore v. Swift & Co.

United States Supreme Court
323 U.S. 134 (1944)


Skidmore and six others (plaintiffs) were employed as firefighters at a packing plant run by Swift & Co. (Swift) (defendant). The plaintiffs worked daytime shifts, five days per week. As part of their employment, the plaintiffs were also required to stay overnight in the fire hall on the plant’s premises three and one-half to four nights per week. The plaintiffs’ overnight duties were to respond to fire alarms. The plaintiffs were paid for any time they spent responding to alarms during their overnight stays, but were not paid for any of their other overnight time. The plaintiffs sued Swift under the Fair Labor Standards Act (the Act), 29 U.S.C.A. § 201, seeking overtime compensation for the hours they spent overnight at the plant. The trial court found that as a matter of law, the time the plaintiffs spent overnight on call in Swift’s fire hall did not constitute hours worked. The court of appeals affirmed, and the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

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Holding and Reasoning (Jackson, J.)

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