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FLSA doesn’t cover claims for distress, punitive damages

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in Compensation and Benefits,Employment Law,Human Resources

Employees who win Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) lawsuits over wage-and-hour violations can only collect damages based on concrete and real losses.

They can’t collect emotional or punitive damages on top of other damages.

Recent case: Raymond Douglas claimed he was fired because he complained that his employer wasn’t paying the appropriate minimum wage or overtime.

He sued for lost wages plus emotional pain and suffering. Plus, he asked for punitive damages in order to make an example of his employer.

The court dismissed his claims for anything other than damages associated with wage-and-hour violations. It ruled that, unlike some other employment laws, the FLSA does not authorize punitive or emotional damages. (Douglas v. Mission Chevrolet, No. 10-CV-294, WD TX, 2010)

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