In the most recent case, the Supreme Court ruled that an employee who verbally complains to the employer about wages, overtime, salary, exempt status or other concerns is protected from retaliation, just as an employee who files a written complaint is.
Many employers expected such a ruling and have long refrained from retaliation against employees who lodge verbal complaints regarding wage and hour issues.
Earlier this year, the Supreme Court ruled that a negative action against an employee’s spouse or relative was also illegal retaliation, under FLSA.
In Kasten v.Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics, employee Kevin Kasten complained repeatedly that he and other hourly employees were entitled to payment for the time spent putting on and taking off special protective gear required in the industry. In particular, Kasten complained that the location of the time clocks – between the work floor and the locker room used for changing – made it impossible for employees to be paid for this time, as the FLSA requires.
Saint-Gobain argued that Kasten’s many gripes and confrontations with supervisors about this payment practice did not constitute an actual complaint, because it was not in writing. They argued that Kevin Kasten was fired for not clocking in and out properly, not as illegal retaliation for his many complaints. They argued that if (more…)