Christensen v. Harris County, 529 U.S. 576, 3 (2000)

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Opinion of the Court

Michael P. Fleming argued the cause for respondents. With him on the brief were Michael A. Stafford, Bruce S. Powers, and William John Bux.*

Justice Thomas delivered the opinion of the Court. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), 52 Stat. 1060, as amended, 29 U. S. C. 201 et seq. (1994 ed. and Supp. III), States and their political subdivisions may compensate their employees for overtime by granting them compensatory time or "comp time," which entitles them to take time off work with full pay. 207(o). If the employees do not use their accumulated compensatory time, the employer is obligated to pay cash compensation under certain circumstances. 207(o)(3)-(4). Fearing the fiscal consequences of having to pay for accrued compensatory time, Harris County adopted a policy requiring its employees to schedule time off in order to reduce the amount of accrued compensatory time. Employees of the Harris County Sheriff's Department sued, claiming that the FLSA prohibits such a policy. The Court of Appeals rejected their claim. Finding that nothing in the FLSA or its implementing regulations prohibits an employer from compelling the use of compensatory time, we affirm.



The FLSA generally provides that hourly employees who work in excess of 40 hours per week must be compensated

*Briefs of amici curiae urging reversal were filed for the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations by Jonathan P. Hiatt, Deborah Greenfield, James B. Coppess, and Laurence Gold; for the International Association of Fire Fighters by Thomas A. Woodley; and for the National Association of Police Organizations by Stephen R. McSpadden.

Jeffrey A. Hollingsworth filed a brief for Spokane Valley Fire Protection District No. 1 as amicus curiae urging affirmance.

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