Appeal from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, No. 600 Commonwealth Docket, 1961, 2520 Equity, in case of William S. Davis, trading as Davis Nursing and Convalescent Home, v. A. Allen Sulcowe, Secretary of Labor and Industry, and David Stahl, Attorney General.
Raymond Kleiman, Deputy Attorney General, with him Walter E. Alessandroni, Attorney General, for appellants.
Irving R. Segal, with him Ira P. Tiger, and Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis, for appellee.
M. H. Goldstein, Michael Brodie, and Goldstein and Barkan, for Pennsylvania AFL-CIO under Rule 65.
Bell, C. J., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice O'Brien. Mr. Justice Cohen and Mr. Justice Eagen dissent.
This appeal is from the final decree enjoining the defendants and their successors in office from enforcing any of the provisions of the Act of September 15, 1961, P. L. 1313, 43 P.S. § 333.1 et seq., known as The Minimum Wage Act of 1961, against proprietary nursing homes.
Appellee, the owner and operator of a nursing home, filed this action in equity for injunctive relief which was granted preliminarily and the decree was made permanent after final adjudication.
The question presented involves the interpretation of a provision of the Act as applied to proprietary nursing homes. The Act provides that "Every employer shall pay wages at a rate of not less than one ($1.00) dollar an hour to every employe in any occupation except as may otherwise be prescribed in this act".*fn1 Appellants maintain that the appellee is required to pay wages of not less than the minimum rate as he is not exempt under the Act. The portion of the Act in dispute is "Section 3. Definitions as used in this Act . . . (6) 'Employe' includes any individual employed by an employer, but shall not include any individual: . . . (j) employed by a non-profit hospital or non-profit nursing home, a religious or charitable organization or an institution engaged in the care of the mentally deficient, the aged or infirm".*fn2
The chancellor found as a fact that the appellee's nursing home is an institution which cares for aged, bedfast and infirm persons and is licensed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He also found as a fact that there is no difference between proprietary nursing homes and non-profit nursing homes in so far as relationship with employes, type of person employed, or collective bargaining power of employes is concerned.
The findings of fact by a chancellor approved by the court en banc have the weight of a jury verdict and will not be disturbed on appeal if there is adequate evidence in the record to sustain those findings. St. Andrews Ev. L. Church v. L. Providence Twp., 414 Pa. 40, 198 A.2d 860 (1964); Rubin v. Lustro Tile Products Corp., 411 Pa. 549, 192 A.2d 731 (1963), and cases cited therein.*fn3 There is ample evidence in the record to sustain the findings.
The uncontradicted evidence clearly reveals that appellee's nursing home, as other proprietary nursing homes, care for the aged or ...