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Kasten v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp (09-834) 
Oral complaint is protected conduct under FLSA's anti-retaliation provision
 
Decided March 22, 2011 
[Full text of Opinion

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Kasten alleged that he was discharged in retaliation for making oral complaints to his superiors that the employer's placement of time clocks violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA's anti-retaliation provision prohibits employers "to discharge ... any employee because such employee has filed any complaint" alleging a violation of the Act.

The US Supreme Court held (6-2) that the scope of the statutory term "filed any complaint" includes oral, as well as written, complaints.

The Court could not rely on the text of the Act alone, so the Court looked to other factors: FLSA's basic objectives, interpretation by the Secretary of Labor, consistency with the interpretation of the National Labor Relations Act.

The DISSENT argued that the FLSA's retaliation provision does not cover complaints to the employer at all, and covers only complaints to a court or government agency.

Case below: Kasten v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp (7th Cir 07/29/2009); rehearing en banc denied [with dissenting opinion] (7th Cir 11/15/2009) 
Official docket sheet 
Certiorari granted March 22, 2010.
Oral argument:  October 13, 2010. [Transcript] [Audio

Question presented:   

Is an oral complaint of a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act protected conduct under the anti-retaliation provision, 29 U.S.C. 215(a)(3)?

Certiorari Documents: 

Briefs on the merits: 

Counsel:

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