B-77256, MAR. 25, 1957

B-77256: Mar 25, 1957

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YOU SAY THAT YOUR CLAIM IS NOT FOR HOLIDAY PAY BUT FOR OVERTIME COMPENSATION FOR THE TIME YOU WORKED FOR THE PANAMA RAILROAD COMPANY. THE MISINTERPRETATION OF YOUR CLAIM AND ITS DISALLOWANCE FOR THE REASONS STATED ARE REGRETTED. COVERING OVERTIME WORKED FOR THE PANAMA RAILROAD COMPANY FROM JUNE 1935 TO JULY 1941 WAS CORRECT. YOU WERE INFORMED BY OUR LETTER OF JULY 19. UNDER WHICH YOUR CLAIM WAS ASSERTED. IT IS PRESUMED THAT YOUR PRESENT LETTER RELATES TO THE SAME CLAIM AND TO THE SAME PERIOD. THAT IS. FOR THE SEVERAL TRADES AND OCCUPATIONS WHICH IS SET BY WAGE BOARDS OR OTHER WAGE-FIXING AUTHORITIES. A COPY OF WHICH IS ENCLOSED. DID NOT APPLY TO EMPLOYEES OF THE PANAMA RAILROAD COMPANY SINCE THAT ORGANIZATION WAS A PRIVATE CORPORATION AND.

B-77256, MAR. 25, 1957

TO MR. TOM R. THOMAS:

YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 23, 1957, REQUESTS REVIEW OF OUR OFFICE SETTLEMENT OF JANUARY 18, 1957, INFORMING YOU THAT YOUR CLAIM FOR HOLIDAY PAY HAD BEEN DISALLOWED. YOU SAY THAT YOUR CLAIM IS NOT FOR HOLIDAY PAY BUT FOR OVERTIME COMPENSATION FOR THE TIME YOU WORKED FOR THE PANAMA RAILROAD COMPANY, JUNE 1935 TO JULY 1, 1945. THE MISINTERPRETATION OF YOUR CLAIM AND ITS DISALLOWANCE FOR THE REASONS STATED ARE REGRETTED. HOWEVER, THERE DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE ANY LEGAL BASIS FOR ALLOWANCE OF YOUR CLAIM FOR OVERTIME COMPENSATION.

ON JUNE 2, 1948, YOU WROTE TO OUR OFFICE REQUESTING TO BE INFORMED WHETHER THE RULING OF THE COMPTROLLER, THE PANAMA CANAL, IN DISALLOWING YOUR CLAIM FOR $5,750, COVERING OVERTIME WORKED FOR THE PANAMA RAILROAD COMPANY FROM JUNE 1935 TO JULY 1941 WAS CORRECT. YOU WERE INFORMED BY OUR LETTER OF JULY 19, 1948, THAT SECTION 23 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 28, 1934, UNDER WHICH YOUR CLAIM WAS ASSERTED, DID NOT APPLY TO EMPLOYEES OF THE PANAMA RAILROAD COMPANY. IT IS PRESUMED THAT YOUR PRESENT LETTER RELATES TO THE SAME CLAIM AND TO THE SAME PERIOD, THAT IS, FROM JUNE 1935 TO JULY 1, 1941.

SECTION 23 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 28, 1934, 5 U.S.C. 673 (C) PROVIDES, IN PART:

"THE WEEKLY COMPENSATION, MINUS ANY GENERAL PERCENTAGE REDUCTION WHICH MAY BE PRESCRIBED BY ACT OF CONGRESS, FOR THE SEVERAL TRADES AND OCCUPATIONS WHICH IS SET BY WAGE BOARDS OR OTHER WAGE-FIXING AUTHORITIES, SHALL BE RE-ESTABLISHED AND MAINTAINED AT RATES NOT LOWER THAN NECESSARY TO RESTORE THE FULL WEEKLY EARNINGS OF SUCH EMPLOYEES IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FULL-TIME WEEKLY EARNINGS UNDER THE RESPECTIVE WAGE SCHEDULES IN EFFECT ON JUNE 1, 1932: PROVIDED, THAT THE REGULAR HOURS OF LABOR SHALL NOT BE MORE THAN FORTY PER WEEK; AND ALL OVERTIME SHALL BE COMPENSATED FOR AT THE RATE OF NOT LESS THAN TIME AND ONE HALF. * * *"

IN OUR DECISION OF APRIL 8, 1935, A-59991, A COPY OF WHICH IS ENCLOSED, WE HELD THAT SECTION 23 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 28, 1934, DID NOT APPLY TO EMPLOYEES OF THE PANAMA RAILROAD COMPANY SINCE THAT ORGANIZATION WAS A PRIVATE CORPORATION AND, ACCORDINGLY, EMPLOYEES OF THE COMPANY WERE NOT EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF THE 1934 STATUTE. THAT DECISION WAS BASED UPON THE CONCLUSION OF THE COURT IN THE CASE OF PANAMA RAILROAD COMPANY V. MINNIX, 282 FED. 47. IT WAS POINTED OUT, HOWEVER, THAT UNDER THE CORPORATION'S CHARTER IT HAD THE AUTHORITY TO FIX THE COMPENSATION OF ITS EMPLOYEES AND MIGHT, BY APPROPRIATE REGULATIONS, PROVIDE FOR THE PAYMENT OF OVERTIME COMPENSATION FOR WORK PERFORMED IN EXCESS OF 40 HOURS A WEEK.

IN RESPONSE TO AN INQUIRY MADE AS A RESULT OF YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 23, 1957, WE ARE INFORMED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE PANAMA CANAL COMPANY THAT OVERTIME COMPENSATION WAS NOT AUTHORIZED FOR CRAFT AND CRAFT SUPERVISORY POSITIONS OF THE PANAMA RAILROAD COMPANY, DURING THE PERIOD JUNE 1935 THROUGH JULY 1, 1941. IN VIEW OF THAT REPORTED INFORMATION THERE IS NO BASIS FOR THE ALLOWANCE OF YOUR CLAIM FOR OVERTIME COMPENSATION AND, UPON REVIEW, THE CONCLUSION REACHED IN OUR EARLIER SETTLEMENT MUST BE SUSTAINED.

WITH REFERENCE TO YOUR COMMENT THAT ALL CLAIMS HAD BEEN PAID EXCEPT THOSE OF A FEW EMPLOYEES WHO WORKED FOR THE PANAMA RAILROAD COMPANY, IT MAY BE STATED THAT CERTAIN EMPLOYEES OF THE FORMER PANAMA CANAL, NOW THE CANAL ZONE GOVERNMENT, AS DISTINGUISHED FROM THE PANAMA RAILROAD COMPANY, WERE HELD TO BE ENTITLED TO OVERTIME COMPENSATION IN THE CASE OF UNITED STATES V. TOWNSLEY, 323 U.S. 557. IN THAT REGARD IT SHOULD BE SAID THAT EMPLOYEES OF THE PANAMA CANAL CONSISTENTLY HAVE BEEN VIEWED AS EMPLOYEES OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.