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Anti-Retaliation Protection of FLSA Do Not Apply Unless FLSA Legal Matter in Proceedings
Description Appeals court upheld the dismissal of a suit by a manager against his employer for firing him after he told the employer that he would not support his version of a dispute with an employee who told the manager he was going to sue for FLSA violation. The anti-retaliation provision of the FLSA applies only when legal matters are proceeding, not threatened.
Topic Employment Law
Key Words Fair Labor Standards Act; Retaliatory Discharge
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Ball, a manager for Memphis Bar-B-Q, was told by a waiter at a restaurant that the company had cheated him out of compensation by "turning back the clock" on its computerized timekeeping system, a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). He said he was going to sue Memphis. Ball discussed the matter with the company president, Sorin. Sorin told Ball what he would say if questioned about the matter in litigation. Ball told Sorin that he did not agree with him and would not back his statements. Sorin soon fired Ball. Ball then sued Memphis for retaliatory discharge in violation of the FLSA The district court dismissed the suit because Ball's testimony had not been requested in connection with a pending FLS proceeding (the complaint of the waiter). Ball appealed.
Decision Affirmed. The anti-retaliation provision of the FLSA applies to employees who have given testimony or are about to give testimony in a "proceeding" related to FLSA matters, whether that be a judicial or administrative tribunal. Since the waiter had not filed suit nor asked for Ball to testify, there was no FLSA-related proceeding to which the anti-retaliation clause could apply.
Citation Ball v. Memphis Bar-B-Q Co., 228 F.3d 360 (4th Cir., 2000)

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