In Tennessee and across the country, employees that work more than forty hours in one week are entitled to overtime pay for each hour over the forty hours. However, many companies and businesses find ways around these laws or just fail to pay their workers overtime altogether. When this happens, employees are entitled to complain about not being paid properly for overtime. However, until recently it was unclear whether or not an employee complaining orally about overtime pay was protected against retaliation from an employer. If you are a Tennessee worker who feels that you were not paid the overtime you deserve or have questions about how this new ruling may affect your overtime lawsuit, then you should speak to a Tennessee employment overtime pay lawyer right away. They will hear your case and make sure you get the compensation you deserve.
In this case, Kevin Kasten worked as an hourly employee for the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corporation. He complained to his company, Saint Gobain, about how the time clocks were placed in an area which prevented employees from receiving credit for job related activities such as putting on and taking off of work clothes. After winning a lawsuit related to not being compensated for time spent dressing and undressing for work, Kasten filed another lawsuit which claimed that he had been terminated for complaining about the location of the company’s time clocks. This was Kasten’s second anti-retaliation lawsuit under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to pay certain employers a minimum wage and one and a half times the rate of pay for any hours worked over forty in one work week. This act also does not allow an employer “to discharge” an employee because they filed a complaint that is in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. When this case went before the Supreme Court the issue was whether or not Kasten’s oral complaints were “filed” within the meaning of the Fair Labor Standards Act anti-retaliation terms.
The Supreme Court in their ruling focused on the fact that the Fair Labor Standards Act was passed during the Great Depression when workers needed to be protected against poor working conditions and unfair treatment by their employers. The Supreme Court stated that during that time, workers who could not read or write could not make an effective written complaint and concluded that the Fair Labor Standards Act was intended to protect all complaints, both written and oral. The Court ruled that oral and written complaints are protected by the anti-retaliation terms of the act and an employer is not allowed to terminate an employee for making an oral complaint.
This ruling does protect workers all across the country and in Tennessee who make oral complaints. However, written complaints are still preferred and have more of an impact in court because it is more difficult for an employer to deny. If you or someone you care about feel that you have not received the overtime pay you are entitled to or have concerns about how this ruling may affect your case, you should contact one of our caring and experienced Tennessee employment and overtime pay attorneys immediately. We care about our clients and will work with you to make sure you receive the compensation that is rightfully yours by law. Contact us online or call us at 800.705.2121 to set up a FREE consultation to discuss your legal options.