Like most, if not all, employment statutes, the Fair Labor Standards Act (the federal law that prescribes minimum wage, maximum hour, and overtime pay requirements), makes it unlawful for employers to retaliate against employees who engage in certain activities. Thus, the FLSA, like Title VII, forbids employers from discriminating against employees who initiate or participate in proceedings before the administrative agency charged with enforcing the law. The FLSA also provides that an employer may not discharge or discriminate against any employee “because such employee has filed any complaint” alleging a violation of the law. In Kasten v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp., the Supreme Court considered whether the protection afforded by the FLSA for filing a complaint extends to oral complaints as well as written complaints. In a remarkably narrow decision issued on March 22, the Supreme Court answered yes to this question.
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