U.S. Supreme Court Expands Anti-Retaliation Protections for Employees


The recent United States Supreme Court decision in Kasten v. St. Gobain Performance Plastics Corp. expanded employers’ potential liability for retaliation by clarifying that oral complaints to supervisors about wage and hour violations fall within the anti-retaliation provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). This decision is a reminder to employers to take all complaints seriously, regardless of how they are communicated to management.

The plaintiff in Kasten made several oral complaints to his supervisors that the location of time clocks in his workplace violated the FLSA. Specifically, he complained that the clocks’ locations prevented employees from punching in and out while they were putting on and taking off work clothes and protective equipment. The plaintiff even said he was thinking of filing a lawsuit about the issue. Shortly after he complained to his supervisors, Mr. Kasten was disciplined and then terminated.

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