According to a recent federal lawsuit, a worker who kept forgetting to
punch in for work but had an excellent attendance record showed could
bring a claim for retaliation under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). InKasten v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp., a worker – Kevin Kasten – kept forgetting to clock in and
was terminated after he accumulated disciplinary points. Before he was
fired, Kasten had orally complained to his employer that it had violated
the FLSA by putting the clocks in areas that weren’t easily accessible.
This case received a lot of attention around the country and eventually
went to the U.S. Supreme Court where the issue of whether an “oral
complaint” was considered a “protected activity” under
the anti-retaliation provisions of the FLSA. If an action is considered
a “protected activity,” then negative employment actions taken
as a result of that activity may be considered violations of federal labor law.
If you have questions about the FLSA or other wage and hour laws, it’s
a good idea to speak to an experienced Atlanta wage and hour lawyer right
away. The FLSA is an extremely complex statute and it’s important
to consult with a knowledgeable
Georgia labor law firm with significant experience representing clients in wage and hour cases.
The FLSA provides certain guidelines, including rules concerning minimum
wage and overtime pay that apply to nearly every worker in the United
States. Failure to comply with these guidelines may be a violation of
the FLSA and an employer may be required to pay back wages, damages and
even attorneys fees and costs associated with filing a wage and hour lawsuit.
The government believes that this law is so important to workers that
if a worker complains about an employer violating FLSA provisions and
he or she is retaliated against, then the worker may be able to bring
a FLSA retaliation lawsuit.
The Supreme Court determined that complaints about potential FLSA violations
don’t have to be in writing – an oral complaint is sufficient.
Here, Kasten complained about the clocks being inconveniently located.
Kasten then presented “evidence that his discharge involved suspicious
timing (he was fired two days after asking about lawsuits relating to
clock punches), ambiguous statements and behavior, and “evidence
of pretextual reasoning for his discharge.”
As a result, the federal court determined that it was possible for Kasten
to maintain his FLSA retaliation claim against his employer. The case
will now proceed and may eventually reach a jury to determine whether
he suffered retaliation.
It’s important to note – retaliation lawsuits differ from straight
FLSA violation lawsuits. In retaliation claims, the negative action (such
as being fired, transferred to a less desirable location or given worse
hours) happens in response to you complaining about a labor violation
– you don’t have to prove an actual violation occurred. The
government wants to protect you from negative actions where you honestly
believe your employer is violating your rights and discriminating against you.
For more information, or if you believe your employer has violated your
FLSA rights – or you have been retaliated against for complaining
about a labor law violation, please contact the experienced
Georgia wage and hour lawyers The Buckley Law Firm, LLC for an immediate consultation.