The Supreme Court's Interpretation of the Fair Labor Standards Act's Anti-Retaliation Provision in Kasten v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corporation: Putting Policy Over Plain Language?
62 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 2014
Date Written: 2013
Similar to statutes such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act, all of which contain anti-retaliation provisions, the Fair Labor Standards Act, which protects employees with respect to wages and hours, also contains such a provision, Unfortunately, not all of these provisions are identical, which has led courts to interpret them differently, granting more protection under some provisions and less protection under others.
This Article will examine the FLSA’s anti-retaliation provision, and it will focus on whether its language covers internal complaints. Section II will examine the text of the provision and compare it to other employment-related, anti-retaliation provisions. Section III will examine the circuit split regarding whether internal complaints are protected under the FLSA. Section IV will focus on the Court’s opinions in Kasten and on Justice Scalia’s dissenting opinion. The Article will argue that although the Court in Kasten provided more protection to FLSA plaintiffs, it did so despite the FLSA’s anti-retaliation provision’s narrow language, which suggests that internal complaints are not protected.
Keywords: Fair Labor Standards Act, anti-retaliation, civil rights, employment discrimination, protected activity, internal complaints
JEL Classification: J78, K10, K40, J70
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation