Archives: Retaliation

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Ninth Circuit Affirms: Not All Complaints About Work Policies Relating to Hours “Protected Activity” Under the FLSA

The substantive provisions of the FLSA protect covered non-exempt employees’ right to receive minimum wage and, as applicable, overtime pay.  The statute’s anti-retaliation provision is co-extensive: it protects employees from termination or other adverse employment action in response to complaints that those provisions were violated.  The FLSA however does not extend anti-retaliation protections to employees … Continue Reading

Florida Judge Rejects Retaliation, Interference Claims Brought By Wait Staff

One defense commonly asserted to retaliation claims under the FLSA (and most other anti-retaliation statutes) is whether the complaint or activity allegedly leading to the alleged adverse action constituted “protected activity” under the relevant statute. Seeking to clarify this standard, a Florida District Court Judge found the alleged complaints were not sufficiently specific to constitute “protected … Continue Reading

SDNY: 13 Months Between “Protected Activity” and Termination Does Not Support Retaliation Claim

Employers often are frustrated by an employee’s characterization in litigation of prior workplace complaints – many times dating back months or even years – as “protected activity” within the meaning of one or more employment statutes.  Distinguishing true “protected activity” from the a mere employee complaint can be a difficult task.  At the initial stage … Continue Reading

Eleventh Circuit Rules Liquidated Damages Discretionary, Not Automatic, in FLSA Retaliation Cases

Addressing a divided body of law, the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit — where numerous FLSA actions are brought particularly within the state of Florida — has ruled that a Florida district court did not err when it declined to award 100% FLSA liquidated damages to several plaintiffs who prevailed at a jury … Continue Reading

Volunteer Firefighter Not “Employee” Under the FLSA

As litigation over the alleged “employee” status of unpaid interns continues, employers and courts continue to analyze whether other service providers are “employees” under the FLSA who must receive minimum wage and overtime for hours in excess of 40.  Consistent with the Sixth Circuit’s employer-friendly ruling on a similar issue, the Court of Appeals for … Continue Reading

Another Circuit Court Circumscribes Scope of Activity Protected by FLSA’s Anti-Retaliation Provision

Consistent with a recent decision from the Eighth Circuit, the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently rejected a Plaintiff’s contention that her termination was related to alleged complaints she made regarding her former employer’s compliance with the FLSA. Lasater v. Tex. A&M University-Commerce, 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 22118 (5th Cir. 2012). In Lasater, Plaintiff … Continue Reading

Circuit Court: Complaints About Holiday Issue Not Protected Under FLSA Anti-Retaliation Provision

The Supreme Court recently ruled that the FLSA’s anti-retaliation provision protects oral complaints regarding issues “under or related to [the FLSA].” 29 U.S.C. § 215(a)(3). However, the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit recently affirmed a District Court’s ruling that such anti-retaliation protections did not extend to a complaint about an employer’s policy regarding paid time … Continue Reading

Federal Judge Rules FLSA’s New Lactation Requirement Does Not Create Private Right of Action (But Retaliation Claim Survives)

As we discussed at the time of enactment, the FLSA was amended in 2010 to require that employers provide non-exempt employees with “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from co-workers and the public” to express breast milk.  In a new decision, a federal judge in Iowa … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit: Magistrate Improperly Denied Serial Filing Plaintiff’s Attorney His Fees In FLSA Case

One oft-invoked disincentive to employers’ litigating FLSA claims (specifically non-class or collective claims) is the statute’s fee shifting provision: when a plaintiff prevails (however nominally), he is entitled to have his “reasonable” attorneys’ fees paid by the employer defendant (however the principle does not apply to a defense victory). In such cases, the individual plaintiff’s damages may … Continue Reading

New USDOL Fact Sheet Discusses FLSA Retaliation

Reflecting the Supreme Court’s 2011 decision regarding the scope of protected activity under the FLSA, the U.S. Department of Labor has issued Fact Sheet 77A, summarizing the Department’s view of the FLSA’s anti-retaliation provision.    Simultaneously, the Department also issued fact sheets addressing retaliation under the FMLA and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act. … Continue Reading

New York Federal Court Reiterates Second Circuit’s Narrow View of Protected Activity for Purposes of FLSA Retaliation Claims

As previously discussed, last March the Supreme Court ruled that the FLSA’s anti-retaliation provision protects “informal” complaints, i.e., unwritten complaints alleging violation of the FLSA are protected activity to support a retaliation complaint.  Kasten v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp., No. 09-834 (Mar. 22, 2011). However, the Court declined to resolve the open issue of whether the … Continue Reading

Appellate Court Rejects Applicant’s Attempt To Extend FLSA’s Anti-Retaliation Protections To Prospective Employer

29 U.S.C. 215(a)(3) prohibits employer retaliation against an employee for complaints alleging FLSA violations (though the contours of what constitutes a protected complaint are still uncertain).  An unanswered question has been whether the FLSA’s anti-retaliation protections prohibit a prospective employer from considering an applicant’s FLSA activity arising out of previous employment?  Recently, the Court of … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Issues Ruling on Oral Complaints of Retaliation, Refuses to Clarify Where Employee Must Complain

While the US Supreme Court recently has rejected petitions for certiorari on key FLSA exemption issues, the highest court in the United States did this term elect to take up the scope of the statute’s protection of workers who make complaints of FLSA violations to their employer.  As discussed in greater detail here, the Court … Continue Reading

Health Care Reform Act Expands Scope of FLSA Retaliation Claims

Jackson Lewis previously advised clients and friends of the Health Care Reform Act’s provision requiring employers to provide employees breaks for breastfeeding: http://www.jacksonlewis.com/legalupdates/article.cfm?aid=2016. (Regulations interpreting such requirements are expected to be issued within the next 6 months.)  Also contained in the over two thousand-page enactment is Section 1558, which adds a new Section 18C to the … Continue Reading

Supreme Court To Decide Whether Internal Verbal Complaints About Alleged Unpaid Wages Constitute Protected Activity Exposing Employers To Retaliation Claims

The Supreme Court, on March 22, 2010, agreed to answer a question that has divided the circuit courts of appeal—whether the FLSA retaliation provision protects verbal complaints made by employees or only written ones. The Court will review the Seventh Circuit’s decision in Kasten v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp., 570 F.3d 834 (7th Cir. 2009), where … Continue Reading
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