Bruce’s Summary: An employee is asked to work on his day off, the employee asks for 2.5 hours of compensatory time off, his time sheet is returned with the time denied, the employee asks his supervisor why his request was denied, told by his supervisor that it was denied by the sheriff and apparently stated, “… what are you going to do about it?”, and the employee responded by saying that he “could ask the labor board.” An additional conversation ensued, within a short time, with the Sheriff in the supervisor’s office and the employee was asked, “what are you going to do about it” and again the employee replied he “could ask the labor board.” The employee was then told that his services would no longer be needed.
An internal verbal complaint to a supervisor and then to the employee’s boss (the Sheriff) about a wage practice followed shortly thereafter with termination of the employee, appears to have raised the bar high enough for the court to constitute protected activity for a retaliation claim under FLSA.
If there was ever a point raised about lack of management training, it’s evident here. The cost of training management in learning how to recognize and address potential real verses alleged allegations of company misconduct would have been a fraction of the cost of this court decision. If it feels funny, it usually is and knowing (through training) it’s okay to raise the question to the next level of management would have potentially prevented a costly mistake. “None of the information contained herein should be construed as legal advice, nor are Calvin Associates consultants engaged to offer legal advice. If there is a need for legal advice, please contact and seek the advice of independent legal counsel.”