Can an employer retaliate against an employee who makes an oral complaint about an FLSA violation or does that complaint have to be in writing in order to trigger antiretaliation provisions?
The Supreme Court held today that a complaint does not have to be in writing in order to trigger antiretaliation provisions. However, the Court did leave a question unanswered:
Alternatively, Saint-Gobain claims that it should prevail because Kasten complained to a private employer, not tothe Government; and, in Saint-Gobain’s view, the antiretaliation provision applies only to complaints filed with the Government. Saint-Gobain advanced this claim in the lower courts, which held to the contrary. 570 F. 3d, at 837–838; 619 F. Supp. 2d, at 613. But Saint-Gobain said nothing about it in response to Kasten’s petition for certiorari. Indeed, it did not mention the claim in this Court until it filed its brief on the merits. We do not normally consider a separate legal questionnot raised in the certiorari briefs. See this Court’s Rule 15.2; Caterpillar Inc. v. Lewis, 519 U. S. 61, 75, n. 13 (1996). We see no reason to make an exception here. Resolution of the Government/private employer question is not a "‘"predicate to an intelligent resolution"’" of the oral/written question that we granted certiorari to decide. See ibid. (quoting Ohio v. Robinette, 519 U. S. 33, 38 (1996)). That is to say, we can decide the oral/writtenquestion separately—on its own.So whether a complaint (written or oral) to an employer rather to a government agency triggers the antiretaliation provision is still undecided by the Supreme Court.
The animation above is to show the point of the case, but does not take much from it in the way of facts or dialogue.
For blog coverage see Rick Bales at Workplace Prof Blog, Philip Miles at Lawffice space, and Michael Maslanka at Work Matters and Jon Hyman at Ohio Employer Blog.