In addition to protecting employees’ wage-and-hour rights, the Fair Labor Standards Act () protects employees from retaliation for asserting their pay rights. But until now, it was unclear whether it was protected activity to file an internal report that someone within the organization was violating the FLSA.
The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, which had jurisdiction over North Carolina employers, has ruled that it is. Employers that retaliate could face a lawsuit.
Recent case: Kathy Minor worked for Bostwick Laboratories as a medical technologist. She got good reviews and had never been disciplined. Then she met with the company’s chief operating officer to discuss her belief that her supervisor was willfully violating the FLSA.
Minor told the COO that her supervisor routinely altered employees’ time sheets to reflect that they had not worked overtime when they had. The COO said he would investigate. Instead, Minor was summarily terminated almost immediately. She sued.
The company argued she wasn’t protected from retaliation because she hadn’t complained to the U.S. Department of Labor. The court didn’t buy that reasoning. Instead, it said that an internal wage-and-hour complaint is also protected activity and can’t be punished. (Minor v. Bostwick Laboratories, No. 10-1258, 4th Cir., 2012)
Final note: Take all internal complaints seriously. Make sure that any subsequent discipline against the complaining employee is legitimate and without question unrelated to the complaint. Courts don’t like to see genuine and sincere whistle-blowers terminated or otherwise punished.
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/30303/beware-retaliation-claim-if-you-punish-employee-for-filing-internal-wage-and-hour-complaint "