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Kudos to Kaster for Kasten

 

Kudos to Jim Kaster at Minneapolis’ Nichols Kaster for his big win at the U.S. Supreme Court today in Kasten v. St. Gobain Performance Plastics.  The Court ruled that the Fair Labor Standard Act’s anti-retaliation provision protects an employee who allegedly lost his job because he made verbal complaints to his employer.

Section 215(a)(3) of the FLSA prohibits retaliation against an employee who has “filed any complaint” regarding purported wage and hour violations.  Lower courts had interpreted this to mean that the complaint must have been written.  But the Supreme Court ruled that the statute protects oral complaints as well :  “To fall within the scope of the anti-retaliation provision, a complaint must be sufficiently clear and detailed for a reasonable employer to understand it, in light of both content and context, as an assertion of rights protected by the statute and a call for their protection. This standard can be met, however, by oral complaints, as well as by written ones.”

Justice Breyer authored the 6-2 majority opinion. Not surprisingly,  Justice Scalia wrote a dissenting opinion, which was joined by Justice Thomas. Justice Kagan took no part in the decision


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