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U.S. Supreme Court

Maneja v. Waialua Agricultural Co., Ltd., 349 U.S. 254 (1955)

Maneja v. Waialua Agricultural Co., Ltd.

Argued March 30, 1955


The Waialua Agricultural Company is a corporation engaged in the growing, harvesting and processing of sugar cane at its plantation in the Territory of Hawaii. In the Federal District Court, it sought a declaratory judgment that its operations are exempt from the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. By a counterclaim under § 16(b) of the Act, certain of its employees sought to recover unpaid overtime compensation. The action related only to work performed between Nov. 20, 1946, and Sept. 14, 1947.


1. Since Waialua exports virtually its entire output for sale throughout the United States, its operations are subject to regulation by Congress through exercise of the commerce power. Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U. S. 111. Pp. 349 U. S. 258-259.

2. The provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act exempting agriculture is coterminous with the sum of those activities necessary in the cultivation of crops, their harvesting, and their "preparation for market, delivery to storage or to market or to carriers for transportation to market." Pp. 349 U. S. 259-260.

3. Waialua's railroad workers, who not only haul cane from the fields to the processing plant but also transport farming implements and field laborers on a narrow-gauge railway extending throughout the plantation, are within the agriculture exemption of the Act. Pp. 349 U. S. 260-263.

(a) The Act draws no distinction between large and small farms, or between mechanized and nonmechanized agriculture. P. 349 U. S. 261.

(b) The agriculture exemption is not forfeited merely because Waialua uses a method ordinarily not associated with agriculture -- a railroad -- to transport the cane from the fields to the mill. P. 349 U. S. 261. chanrobles.com-red

Page 349 U. S. 255

(c) Congress did not intend to deprive farmers having their own mills of the exemption it afforded farmers who do not. P. 349 U. S. 261.

(d) The transportation of farm implements, supplies, and field workers to and from the fields is a necessary part of the agricultural enterprise, and clearly within the exemption. P. 349 U. S. 262.

(e) Upon the facts here presented, the administrative practice also requires that the railroad employees be classified as within the agriculture exemption. Pp. 349 U. S. 262-263.

4. Employees who repair the mechanical implements used in farming -- tractors, cane loaders, cane cars, etc. -- are within the agriculture exemption. Pp. 349 U. S. 263-264.

5. Employees working in Waialua's sugar processing plant are not within the agricultural exemption of the Act. Pp. 349 U. S. 264-270.

6. The exemption prescribed by § 7 (c) from the overtime provisions of the Act for employers "engaged in the . . . processing of . . . sugar cane . . . into sugar" applies to employees of Waialua during the processing season while making emergency repairs in the mill, cleaning the equipment during the weekend shutdown, and performing other tasks closely and intimately connected with the processing operation; it also applies to employees doing repair work on the mill equipment in Waialua's shops in the mill area; but it does not apply to employees doing permanent repairs, overhaul, and reconditioning during the three-month off-season. Pp. 349 U. S. 270-271.

7. Employees engaged in the maintenance of Waialua Village and in the repair of the company's dwelling houses rented to employees are not within the coverage of the Act. Pp. 349 U. S. 271-272.

8. In view of the insufficiency of relevant data in the record, the rights of the remaining employees involved in this litigation (employees in the laboratory, the cement products plant, and the power plant) are not here decided, but may be decided by the trial court on remand, and that court may also make any necessary reassessment in overtime compensation due employees. P. 349 U. S. 272.

216 F.2d 466 reversed. chanrobles.com-red

Page 349 U. S. 256


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