IBP, Inc. v. Gabriel Alvarez 1
Running head: IBP, INC. V. GABRIEL ALVAREZ
IBP, Inc. v. Gabriel Alvarez Legal Analysis
IBP, Inc. v. Gabriel Alvarez 2
IBP, Inc. v. Gabriel Alvarez
The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) was passed into a law to help regular pay
and hours worked. This act also sets the standards for the minimum age for workers (Bennett-
Alexander & Hartman, 2007). IBP & Inc. v. Alvarez (2005) discusses whether FLSA provides
coverage on the employer's premises to and from the location of the employees' "principal
activity or activities" and activities that are” “preliminary or postliminary" to principal activities.
Statement of Facts
IBP, inc. v. Alvarez involved hourly employees who worked in the slaughter and
processing divisions of a meat packaging plant in Pasco, Washington (IBP & Inc. v. Alvarez,
2005). The employees were paid from the arrival of the first piece of meat at their workstations
to the departure of the last piece of meat from their workstations. The production workers were
also required to wear protective gear. The employees were required to store their protective gear
in company locker rooms, where most employees “donned” and “doffed” the protective gear.
The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari in the Alvarez case to review the district
court's holding (affirmed by the Ninth Circuit) that, for employees who were required to don and
doff exclusive protective gear, the time spent by such employees walking between the locker
rooms and the production floor was compensable under the Fair Labor Standard Act of 1938
(FLSA) (IBP & Inc. v. Alvarez, 2005).
The primary employment issue in IBP, Inc. v. Alvarez is a compensation issue in
violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.
IBP, Inc. v. Gabriel Alvarez 3
The Supreme Court applied and examined FLSA, prior cases and the Portal to Portal Act
of 1947 to address this case. The Supreme Court examined the Portal-to-Portal Act of 1947 and
stated that the “principal activity or activities" in the Portal-to-Portal Act covers all activities
which are an integral and indispensable part of the principal activities. The Supreme Court also
agreed with the Ninth Circuit that, under the facts of the case at hand, the donning and doffing of
distinctive protective gear constituted a "principal activity" within the meaning of the Portal-to-
Portal Act because it was "integral and indispensable" to the employees' work (IBP & Inc. v.
Standards of Conduct & Future Impact
The IBP & Inc. v. Alvarez, 2005 decision sets the standard of conduct for employers that.
under FLSA and the Portal to Portal Act, time spent walking and waiting after donning and
before doffing unique protective gear are compensable activities under FLSA and are not
excluded by the portal to portal act (IBP & Inc. v. Alvarez). Future impact implies that
employers should also consult counsel to determine what pre- and post-shift activities, other than
donning and doffing required protective gear, might constitute a "principal activity" in future
cases to help determine the definitions of what constitutes a "workday" for determining whether
compensation should be paid to the employee. Therefore, any deemed “principal activities”
could impact the financial bottom line of the company.
In summary, the importance of the decision in IBP, Inc. v. Alvarez (2005) covers
employment law in more than just the meat and poultry industries. Employers in all types of
manufacturing industries and any type of industry requiring protective gear could be affected by
IBP, Inc. v. Gabriel Alvarez 4
this decision and should avoid violations by adhering to the compensation standards set forth by
IBP, Inc. v. Gabriel Alvarez 5
Bennett-Alexander, D. D., & Hartman, L. P. (2007). Show Me the Money. In Employment Law
for Business (5th ed., pp. 747-749). New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.
IBP, Inc. v. Alvarez 546 U.S. 2005
IBP, Inc. v. Gabriel Alvarez 6
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