Walters v. Metropolitan Ed. Enterprises, Inc., 519 U.S. 202, 2 (1997)

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Cite as: 519 U. S. 202 (1997)


day" suggests the possibility of a test based on whether an employee is actually at work on a given day, such a test would be impossible to administer and reflects an improbable reading of the statute. The method advocated by Metropolitan, which focuses on whether an employer is compensating the employee on the day in question, is not a plausible reading of the statutory criterion of whether the employer "has" the employee. Pp. 206-208. (b) The payroll approach does not render superfluous the statutory qualification "for each working day." Without this phrase, one would not be sure whether to count part-week employees toward the statutory minimum. Nor is it dispositive that the payroll method produces some strange consequences with regard to Title VII's coverage, since Metropolitan's approach produces unique peculiarities of its own. The latter approach would also turn the coverage determination into an incredibly complex and expensive factual inquiry, whereas, under the payroll method, all one needs to know about a given employee for a given year is whether he started or ended employment during that year and, if so, when. He is counted as an employee for each working day after arrival and before departure. Pp. 208-211. (c) Under the payroll method, Metropolitan was an "employer" for purposes of petitioners' retaliatory-discharge claim. Pp. 211-212. 60 F. 3d 1225, reversed and remanded.

Scalia, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.

Constantine John Gekas argued the cause for petitioner in No. 95-259. With him on the briefs was Adrianne S. Harvitt. Deputy Solicitor General Waxman argued the cause for petitioner in No. 95-779. On the briefs were Solicitor General Days, Acting Solicitor General Dellinger, Assistant Attorney General Patrick, Deputy Solicitor General Bender, Beth S. Brinkmann, C. Gregory Stewart, Gwen-dolyn Young Reams, Carolyn L. Wheeler, and C. Gregory Stewart.

Patrick J. Falahee, Jr., argued the cause and filed a brief for respondents in both cases.†

†Briefs of amici curiae urging reversal were filed for the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations by Jonathan P. Hiatt, Marsha S. Berzon, Virginia A. Seitz, and Laurence Gold; for the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law by Lawrence J.


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