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TENNESSEE COAL CO. V. MUSCODA LOCAL NO. 123, 321 U. S. 590 (1944)

U.S. Supreme Court

Tennessee Coal Co. v. Muscoda Local No. 123, 321 U.S. 590 (1944)

Tennessee Coal, Iron & Railroad Co. v. Muscoda Local No. 123

No. 409

Argued January 13, 14, 1944

Decided March 27, 1944

321 U.S. 590


1. The Fair Labor Standards Act is remedial and humanitarian in nature, and must not be interpreted or applied in a narrow, grudging manner. P. 321 U. S. 597.

2. Sections 7(a), 3(g) and 3(j) of the Fair Labor Standards Act are necessarily indicative of a Congressional intention to guarantee either regular or overtime compensation for all actual work or employment. P. 321 U. S. 597.

3. In the absence of a contrary legislative expression, it must be assumed that Congress, in the Fair Labor Standards Act, was referring to work or employment as those words are commonly used -- as meaning physical or mental exertion (whether burdensome or not) controlled or required by the employer and pursued necessarily and primarily for the benefit of the employer and his business. P. 321 U. S. 598.

4. Underground travel by iron ore miners to and from the "working face" of the mines held, upon the facts of this case as found by

Page 321 U. S. 591

both courts below, to constitute work. Such underground travel time is includible in the workweek within the meaning of the Fair Labor Standards Act, and must be compensated accordingly. P. 321 U. S. 598.

5. Although such underground travel of the iron ore miners is in a strict sense nonproductive, they are nevertheless engaged during such travel time in a "process or occupation necessary to . . . production," within the meaning of § 3(j) of the Act. P. 321 U. S. 599.

6. The facts relating to underground travel by miners in iron ore mines in this case leave no doubt as to its character as work within the meaning of the Fair Labor Standards Act, and the requirement of the Act that it be compensated accordingly cannot be rendered inapplicable by any contrary custom or contract. P. 321 U. S. 602.

137 F.2d 176 affirmed.

Certiorari, 320 U.S. 731, to review a judgment which modified and affirmed a judgment, 40 F.Supp. 4, in actions for declaratory judgments construing the Fair Labor Standards Act.

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