Protected Activity

News & Analysis as of

Asking Supervisor to Stop Harassment Qualifies as Protected Activity Under Title VII

A recent Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling may concern employers, since it gives a broad definition to Title VII retaliation claims. On April 22, the court of appeals affirmed the trial court in ruling that informal...more

What is Retaliation in the Second Circuit Under the FLSA?

On April 20, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed a long-standing precedent when it held in Greathouse v. JHS Security Inc., that an internal oral complaint could be sufficient to...more

Complaining to the Boss? The Second Circuit Says That’s Protected

In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Kasten v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corporation that oral complaints are protected by anti-relation provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), but it did not address a...more

Fourth Circuit Joins Other Federal Courts in Broadly Interpreting the Scope of Title VII Retaliation Claims

On May 7, 2015, the Fourth Circuit ruled that an isolated instance of harassment, if "extremely serious," can create a hostile work environment, and that complaining about such harassment constitutes protected activity under...more

Maine Law Court Weighs In Again on Whistleblower Claims

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court, acting as the Law Court, recently issued a decision reiterating the scope of protected activity under the Maine Whistleblowers’ Protection Act. The decision is a win for employers and...more

Déjà Vu All Over Again: NLRB Rejects Employer's Handbook Policies

You may have noticed that the NLRB has been coming down pretty hard on employment policies, practices and handbooks lately. They've added yet another decision to the arsenal this past month. ...more

Ninth Circuit Overturns Summary Judgment Issued in Favor of Employer in Retaliation Case

Lukov v. Schindler Elevator Corp., No. 12-17695 (February 24, 2015): In an unpublished decision, the Ninth Circuit recently overturned summary judgment granted to an employer on the plaintiff’s retaliation claims. William...more

Complaint to a Harassing Supervisor Is Enough to Support a Title VII Retaliation Claim

An employee’s harassment complaint made directly to the harassing supervisor can be sufficient “protected activity” to support a Title VII retaliation claim, the 6th Circuit ruled last week in EEOC v. New Breed Logistics....more

Arrest Warrant Service is Not "Protected Activity" Under California's Anti-SLAPP Statute

Government Employees and Officials Should Heed Limits of the Statute’s Protections - The anti-SLAPP process can be successfully deployed by government entities, officials and employees in fending off lawsuits brought...more

Sixth Circuit Finds that Verbal Demand to Supervisor to Cease Harassing Behavior is Protected Activity Under Title VII

Most practitioners know that Title VII prohibits retaliation against any employee because he or she “opposed any practice made an unlawful employment practice [by the statute].”...more

New York Employment Roundup: March & April 2015

Today’s New York employment law landscape is increasingly dynamic, with a constant stream of newly issued legislation and judicial opinions. To keep our readers current on the latest developments, we will share regular...more

To Fire or Not to Fire for Employee’s Social Media Posts

After watching the firing of the digital communications manager for the Houston Rockets during their run through the playoffs (read the story here in the Houston Chronicle).  I figured it would be a good time to revisit the...more

ARB Issues Impactful Decision On Whistleblower Retaliation Causation Standard

The ARB recently addressed the standard for proving that protected activity was a “contributing factor” in adverse employment actions. It concluded that evidence showing that an employer would have made the same adverse...more

Protected Title VII Conduct Can Be As Simple As Telling Your Boss to Stop Harassing You

The Sixth Circuit recently ruled “a demand that a supervisor cease his/her harassing conduct constitutes protected activity covered by Title VII,” so that employees who tell a boss to stop harassing them are protected from...more

Fenwick Employment Brief - April 2015

Ninth Circuit Reviews Enforceability of Waiver of Right to Reemployment - Does California Business and Professions Code § 16600 prohibit employees from waiving their right to reemployment with prior employers? The...more

SEC Joins Agency Attack on Confidentiality Clauses in Employee-Related Agreements and Policies

In a recent enforcement action, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) took action against a company for "using improperly restrictive language in confidentiality agreements with the potential to stifle the...more

Second Circuit Synchs Up With its Sister Courts: Now Says Employees May Premise FLSA Retaliation Claim on Oral Complaints to...

This week, in Greathouse v. JHS Security, Inc., the Second Circuit Court of Appeals held that employees may pursue a Fair Labor Standards Act retaliation claim premised upon an oral complaint to their employer – a clear...more

Second Circuit Expands The Scope Of FLSA Protected Activity To Include Oral Complaints To Employer

In a 2-1 decision issued on April 20, 2015, the Second Circuit expanded the scope of protected activity under the Fair Labor Standard Act’s (FLSA) anti-retaliation provision. The FLSA prohibits retaliation against an employee...more

Whatcha Talkin’ Bout: Oral Complaints Made to Employer Constitute Protected Activity under FLSA, Says Second Circuit

In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Kasten v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp., that oral complaints of a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act can constitute protected activity under the FLSA’s...more

Can You Lawfully Prohibit Secret Recordings in the Workplace?

It is a safe bet that most if not all of your employees own a mobile or smart phone. It is also a safe bet that those phones have the capability of capturing pictures, taking video and recording conversations. ...more

Ninth Circuit Calls Into Question “No Reemployment” Provisions In California Settlement Agreements

On April 8, 2015, in Golden v. California Emergency Physicians Medical Group, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals broadly interpreted California’s statutory provisions regarding restrictive covenants in the context of...more

Petition Urges DOL To Target Contractual Clauses Discouraging Whistleblowing

The Government Accountability Project (GAP) and Zuckerman Law recently petitioned the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) to issue rules and guidance prohibiting “de facto” gag clauses in settlement and severance agreements that...more

NLRB Rejects Profane Employee Facebook Rant as Grounds for Termination

For decades, the National Labor Relations Board has recognized boundaries on employees’ rights to engage in activity protected under federal labor laws. While employees have been granted leeway to engage in heated or...more

Calling Your Boss a “Nasty Mother F@#$%r” and Other Protected Activities

If an employee lashes out against a supervisor on social media with a string of obscenities, you can fire that employee, right? You would think so, but not always. Context matters....more

No, You Cannot Prohibit Employees from Protesting or Discussing Their Wages

A reminder to employers concerned about employees’ discussing their wages or acting in concert to petition for higher wages: This is legally protected activity that employers cannot prohibit or restrain. A recent National...more

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