In a recent court of appeals decision out of the Fourth Circuit, the court determined that while current and former employees are entitled to protection from retaliation under the Fair Labor Standards Act FLSA, prospective employees are not entitled to the same protection.
In Dellinger v. Science Applications International, the 4th Circuit evaluated a woman’s claim that she had been subject to retaliation. Here, Natalie Dellinger applied for a position at Science Applications International Corporation. Dellinger was offered the job with certain conditions such as passing a drug test and completing a security clearance. After she disclosed her lawsuit against a previous employer-based on wage and hour violations, including minimum wage and overtime violations, her job offer was withdrawn.
Dellinger then filed n a lawsuit under the FLSA, alleging that she had been the victim of retaliation. The 4th Circuit denied Dellinger’s claim, finding that the FLSA’s protection against retaliation applies only to current employees, and as a result, prospective employees cannot sue potential employers for retaliation. The Court focused on the nature of the “employee/employer” relationship, stating “[T]he anti-retaliation provision was meant to ensure that employees could sue to obtain minimum wages and maximum hours from their employers without the employers taking adverse action against them for the exercise of those rights.”
Although the retaliation provisions of the FLSA were not extended to prospective employees, the court also noted its desire not to enable future employers to discriminate against employees for exercising their rights under the FLSA.
Wage and hour laws are extremely complex and may allow you to bring a lawsuit under many circumstances. As Georgia employment lawyers, we will follow this decision and determine how it may impact workers’ rights. If you believe you have been retaliated against or have not received all the compensation you are entitled to, please contact the Atlanta wage and hour lawyers Buckley Beal LLP, LLC for a confidential case evaluation.