Employment Law – Can an Employee Be Fired For Complaining About Unpaid Wages?

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and numerous State laws require that staff members be paid the earnings and overtime pay they are legally entitled to receive in a prompt manner. Regrettably, lots of staff members who have actually not been paid amounts that they are lawfully entitled to get are hesitant to grumble due to the fact that they are concerned about being fired or otherwise retaliated versus. Such worry must not dissuade an action to recuperate sums justly earned, as the wage and overtime laws have built-in defenses forbiding such retaliation.

The FLSA specifically provides that it is “illegal for any person … to release or in any other manner discriminate against any worker because such employee has filed any complaint or set up any or caused to be set up any proceeding under or related to this Act, or has actually affirmed or will affirm in any such case.” In Arizona, where I practice employment law, similar statutes exist precluding retaliation for grumbling about infractions of the Arizona statutes.

Significantly, these anti-retaliation statutes provide real protections and serious penalties, in order to encourage damaged employees to come forward. The FLSA anti-retaliation laws subject employers who retaliate or discriminate against a staff member to fines and even criminal prosecution, and the affected staff member is entitled to “legal or fair relief … including without restriction employment, reinstatement, promo, and the payment of salaries lost and an extra equal quantity” plus lawyers’ charges and court expenses. Compensatory damages are likewise available in proper cases.

Naturally, numerous employers are smart enough not to fire somebody, but retaliate in other ways. The laws likewise avoid other kinds of retaliation and harassment, and courts have sanctioned employers who “blacklisted” staff members, chose not to hire applicants who made genuine problems at other tasks, rendered unfair discipline, made unfair work projects, or failed to offer normal benefits or compensation that would have otherwise been offered.

At the end of the day, there is no other way to avoid the unpleasant situation that might accompany a grievance against your business, however the option is to continue to have your legal rights broke and, due to delay in bringing a claim, lose substantial rights. Prior to raising a claim and tarnishing the relationship, it is a smart idea to consult with knowledgeable Cooper employment lawyers to determine exactly what earnings you might be owed.