Wirtz v. Baldor Electric Co.

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Facts

The Secretary of Labor determined a minimum wage in the electrical motors and generators industry. He was given the power to do this under the Walsh-Healey Contracts Act. This Act has the language necessary to trigger a formal adjudication. To try to determine a proper wage the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) took a confidential survey of 755 establishments within the industry. The Secretary scheduled a hearing to determine the minimum wages in the industry and compiled a wage table based on 212 of the responses it got from the survey. The results of the table were given to National Electrical Manufactures Association (NEMA). NEMA did its own research and founds discrepancies between its research and BLS's wage tables. NEMA argued that it wanted the survey data to help in its cross examination during the hearings. The Secretary claimed that it could not turn over the data because it would break the confidentiality agreement it had with the employers who filled out the survey.

Issues

  1. "Whether the administrative hearings afforded the appellees the opportunity to submit rebuttal evidence and to conduct cross-examination as may be required for a full and true disclosure of the facts?"
  2. "In light of the evidence offered by appellants in an effort to impeach the survey, the determination was supported by an in accordance with the reliable, probative, and substantial evidence."

Discussion

  1. The court rules that nothing in the APA or the Walsh-Healey Act allow for keeping this information confidential and away from a cross examiner.
  2. The court rules that the appellants sufficiently attacked the sole evidence used by the agency in making its decision such that it would not be considered reliable evidence necessary to make a decision.