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ENSINGER v. URBAN ET AL. (12/11/74)

decided: December 11, 1974.

ENSINGER
v.
URBAN ET AL., APPELLANTS



Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, No. 68-12354, in case of Fred Ensinger, Sr. v. Walter Urban and Doris Fournier, Co-Partners Trading as General Truck Service.

COUNSEL

Irwin S. Lasky, for appellants.

Gerald P. Sigal, with him Peter J. Cianci, Yaffe & Blumberg, and Wisler, Pearlstine, Talone, Craig & Garrity, for appellee.

Watkins, P. J., Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort, and Spaeth, JJ. Opinion by Hoffman, J.

Author: Hoffman

[ 231 Pa. Super. Page 501]

This case presents issues concerning the scope of coverage of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, as amended (29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq.), and the computation of damages that may be awarded to an employee for his employer's failure to pay the overtime compensation required by the Act.*fn1

The appellants, co-partners trading as General Truck Service, originally hired the appellee as a truck mechanic in 1957. From 1957 until 1963, the appellee was employed at the partnership's principal place of business in Philadelphia. In 1963, the appellee was transferred to a branch establishment located in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. The partnership had a contract with the Bell Telephone Company to maintain Bell's fleet of trucks and automobiles upon which the appellee performed minor repairs. The Bell motor vehicle supervisor instructed the appellee before any repairs were undertaken. The appellee regularly serviced a fleet of approximately thirty-seven trucks, two of which made daily trips to Delaware.

While he was employed at the Philadelphia location, the appellee was paid on an hourly basis. When the appellee was transferred to King of Prussia, his compensation was changed to $150 per week. There is conflicting testimony in the record as to the number of hours per week the appellee would be required to work, but the lower court judge found as a fact that "The remuneration received by the [appellee] was for a forty

[ 231 Pa. Super. Page 502]

(40) hour week." The appellee claims that he worked 56 hours each week from September 9, 1966, through May 10, 1967, and is entitled to overtime compensation for this period of employment.

The initial question before this Court is whether the appellee is within the purview of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Under the Act, an employer is required to compensate his employees for all hours worked in excess of forty hours in a given week, "at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate at which he is employed" if the employee "is engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce, . . ." 29 U.S.C. § 207(a) (1). Section 203(j) provides that "an employee shall be deemed to have been engaged in the production of goods if such employee was employed in producing, manufacturing, mining, handling, transporting, or in any other manner working on such goods, or in any closely related process or occupation directly essential to the production thereof, in any State." Section 203(i) defines "goods" as "goods . . . or articles or subjects of commerce of any character, . . ."

From the above definitions, it is apparent that § 207(a) does not require the employee to be directly engaged in commerce. It does not require him to be employed in the production of an article which itself becomes the subject of commerce. It is enough that he is employed in an occupation which is "closely related" or "directly essential" to the production of "articles or subjects of commerce of any character." See Roland Electrical Co. v. Walling, 326 U.S. 657 (1945). Clearly, the Bell Telephone Company is a corporation engaged in interstate commerce within the meaning of the Act. The issue, then, is whether the maintenance functions ...


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