Christensen v. Harris County, 529 U.S. 576, 7 (2000)

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Opinion of the Court

at 247-251. We granted certiorari because the Courts of Appeals are divided on the issue.2 528 U. S. 926 (1999).


Both parties, and the United States as amicus curiae, concede that nothing in the FLSA expressly prohibits a State or subdivision thereof from compelling employees to utilize accrued compensatory time. Petitioners and the United States, however, contend that the FLSA implicitly prohibits such a practice in the absence of an agreement or understanding authorizing compelled use.3 Title 29 U. S. C. 207(o)(5) provides:

"An employee . . . "(A) who has accrued compensatory time off . . . , and "(B) who has requested the use of such compensatory time, "shall be permitted by the employee's employer to use such time within a reasonable period after making the request if the use of the compensatory time does not unduly disrupt the operations of the public agency."

Petitioners and the United States rely upon the canon expressio unius est exclusio alterius, contending that the express grant of control to employees to use compensatory time, subject to the limitation regarding undue disruptions

2 Compare, e. g., Collins v. Lobdell, 188 F. 3d 1124, 1129-1130 (CA9 1999) (upholding employer's policy compelling compensatory time use), with Heaton v. Moore, 43 F. 3d 1176, 1180-1181 (CA8 1994) (striking down policy compelling compensatory time use), cert. denied sub nom. Schriro v. Heaton, 515 U. S. 1104 (1995).

3 We granted certiorari on the question " '[w]hether a public agency governed by the compensatory time provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, 29 U. S. C. 207(o), may, absent a preexisting agreement, require its employees to use accrued compensatory time?' " 528 U. S. 926, 927 (1999). As such, we decide this case on the assumption that no agreement or understanding exists between the employer and employees on the issue of compelled use of compensatory time.

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