Supreme Court Review 2017/2018 TERM

Issue:  Fair Labor Standards Act

Encino Motorcars v. Navarro



Respondents are “service advisors” at a car dealership whose primary job responsibilities involve identifying service needs and selling service solutions to the dealership’s customers. Respondents brought suit against the dealership under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. §§201-219, seeking time-and-a-half overtime pay for working more than 40 hours per week.

The FLSA exempts from its overtime requirements “any salesman, partsman, or mechanic primarily engaged in selling or servicing automobiles.” Id. §213(b)(10)(A). Relying on an unbroken line of authority from other jurisdictions, the district court dismissed Respondents’ claims, concluding that a service advisor is a “salesman ... engaged in ... servicing automobiles” and is thus exempt from the FLSA’s overtime requirements. The Ninth Circuit reversed, deferring to a Department of Labor interpretive regulation stating that service advisors are not exempt under §213(b)(10)(A) because they do not personally service automobiles. The Ninth Circuit readily acknowledged that its holding “conflicts with decisions of the Fourth and Fifth Circuits, several district courts, and the Supreme Court of Montana,” all of which hold that service advisors are exempt employees. Pet.App.11.

The question presented is whether “service advisors” at car dealerships are exempt under 29 U.S.C. §213(b)(10)(A) from the FLSA’s overtime-pay requirements.


Decided June 20, 2016 HOLDING

Section 213(b)(10)(A) must be construed without placing controlling weight on the Department’s 2011 regulation.

Agree Concur image Justice Sotomayor
Agree Concur Sotomayor
Agree image Justice Breyer
Agree Breyer
Dissent Author image Justice Thomas
Dissent Author Thomas
Agree image Justice Scalia
Agree Scalia
Agree image Chief Justice Roberts
Agree Roberts
Author image Justice Kennedy
Author Kennedy
Agree Concur image Justice Ginsburg
Agree Concur Ginsburg
Agree w/ Thomas image Justice Alito
Agree w/ Thomas Alito
Agree image Justice Kagan
Agree Kagan

KENNEDY, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and GINSBURG, BREYER, SOTOMAYOR, and KAGAN, JJ., joined. GINSBURG, J., filed a concurring opinion, in which SOTOMAYOR, J., joined. THOMAS, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which ALITO, J., joined.

Text of Opinion
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United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Decided March 24, 2015
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