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Employee filed incorrect pay complaint? It’s still protected

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

Here’s a new twist on protected activity and retaliation: Apparently an employee can complain about wage-and-hour issues to the wrong agency—even one that has nothing to do with enforcing labor laws—and still gain protection from retaliation.

Recent case: Kim filed what she called a complaint about her em­­ployer’s wage-and-hour policies with the North Carolina Better Business Bureau (BBB). Four days after finding out, her employer fired her.

She hired an attorney and sued in federal court, alleging she had been fired in retaliation for engaging in protected activity. The employer argued that the BBB had nothing to do with the Fair Labor Standards Act and wasn’t even a government agency.

No matter. The court said if the employee complained in good faith, believing the BBB was an appropriate forum, she engaged in protected activity. Her retaliation case can continue. (Anderson v. Quantell, No. 7:12-CV-333, ED NC, 2013)

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