In an interesting case involving a claim for retaliation under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), the United States Supreme Court answered the disputed question of whether complaints made pursuant to the FLSA retaliation provision had to be in writing or not. The Court answered in the negative.
Specifically, in Kasten v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp., the employee had been terminated from his employment based on the employer’s allegation that he accumulated too many disciplinary points due to failing to clock-in on a regular basis when arriving at work. The employee, however, claimed that his termination constituted retaliation under FLSA, arguing that the employer put the clock-in machines in areas that were not easily accessible to employees. One of the key facts that served as the primary question of the Court’s review was that the employee only made oral complaints about the placement of the clock-in machines.
In its opinion, the Court held that the employee’s oral complaints about potential FLSA violations were sufficient and that such complaints do not have to be in writing.
As a result, the Court determined that it was possible, as a matter of law, for the employee to maintain his FLSA retaliation claim against the employer. Thus, a question of fact remained for the jury to determine whether or not actual retaliation occurred.
The Kasten decision helped broaden the reach of FLSA’s retaliation provision to ensure that employees receive proper protection under the law for complaints about potential wage and hour violations. The word “potential” should be emphasized because under FLSA’s retaliation provision, you are not required to prove that an actual wage and hour violation occurred, you simply have to be believe that one occurred (or was occurring or even may occur) when you complained.
If an employee has questions about a possible wage and hour issue at their employment or former employment, contact an attorney and find out what remedies may be available to you.
If you even think that your employment rights have been violated or that you might need an employment lawyer, then call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation at 866-797-6040. The Spitz Law Firm is dedicated to protecting employees’ rights and solving employment disputes.
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