Protection from Retaliation Alive and Well in the Western District of Kentucky
The Supreme Court is considering whether retaliation for cooperating in an employer's internal investigation is prohibited by Title VII. (See SCOTUS for relevant documents in Crawford v. Metro. Gov't of Nashville.)
Meanwhile though, at least in part of Kentucky, there appears to remain some teeth in the Fair Labor Standards Act's ("FLSA") anti-retaliation provisions. BNA reported (subscription required), last week, that the Western District of Kentucky refused to grant summary judgment to Yum! against a prior employee asserting a claim of constructive discharge. The employee allegedly quit because he was directed by the director of aviation to stop complaining about lack of overtime pay, resign, or be terminated. Ellis v. Yum! Brands, Inc., No. 3:06-CV-235-S (April 25, 2008) (available to users with PACER accounts and ECF users or through BNA (subscription required)). The court reasoned that the Sixth Circuit has held that FLSA's anti-retaliation provisions include protection against retaliation for internal complaints about failure to pay overtime. The court concluded that the evidence of retaliation and constructive discharge was sufficient to withstand summary judgment. The well-reasoned opinion uses stronger language than often seen when addressing a motion for summary judgment; the court, for instance, states that such a directive "would be objectively intolerable to a reasonable person."