Restaurant manager Peter Ball knew that one of his waiters was preparing to sue the restaurant for unpaid overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (). When Ball alerted the company president about the pending suit, the president made suggestions on how Ball could testify in a way that would favor the company. Ball refused and was fired within days.
Ball then filed suit, claiming that the FLSA makes it illegal to retaliate against a worker who has filed a complaint or instituted a "proceeding." But the court rejected his case, saying there must be an official judicial or administrative proceeding before an employee is protected from retaliation. A worker isn't protected, the court said, when the employee has simply voiced his opinion about a yet-to-be-filed lawsuit.
The split court said it may have been "morally unacceptable" to fire Ball, but it isn't illegal under the FLSA. (Ball v. Memphis Bar-B-Q Co. Inc., No. 99-1261, 4th Cir., 2000)
Advice: Don't take this as a green light to fire employees before a case hits the courts.
This type of "shooting the messenger" action usually will result in liability under several different anti-discrimination and whistle-blower laws. Although this court found nothing to protect Ball under the FLSA, this decision is an exception to the rule that a person who helps an individual making a complaint is also protected against retaliation.
Like what you've read? ...Republish it and share great business tips!
Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Media, Webmasters and more...
We believe great content should be read and passed around. After all, knowledge IS power. And good business can become great with the right information at their fingertips. If you'd like to share any of the insightful articles on BusinessManagementDaily.com, you may republish or syndicate it without charge.
The only thing we ask is that you keep the article exactly as it was written and formatted. You also need to include an attribution statement and link to the article.
" This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/1457/dont-shoot-the-messenger-retaliation-claim-will-usually-stick "