Section 15(a)(3) of the FLSA states that it is a violation for any person to “discharge or in any other manner discriminate against any employee because such employee has filed any complaint or instituted or caused to be instituted any proceeding under or related to this Act, or has testified or is about to testify in any such proceeding, or has served or is about to serve on an industry committee.”
Employees are protected regardless of whether the complaint is made orally or in writing. Complaints made to the Wage and Hour Division are protected, and most courts have ruled that internal complaints to an employer are also protected.
Because section 15(a)(3) prohibits “any person” from retaliating against “any employee”, the protection applies to all employees of an employer even in those instances in which the employee’s work and the employer are not covered by the FLSA.
For additional information on FLSA Coverage, please visit Fact Sheet 14 at http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs14.htm.
Section 15(a)(3) also applies in situations where there is no current employment relationship between the parties; for example, it protects an employee from retaliation by a former employer.
Any employee who is “discharged or in any other manner discriminated against” because, for instance, he or she has filed a complaint or cooperated in an investigation, may file a retaliation complaint seeking appropriate remedies including, but not limited to, employment, reinstatement, lost wages and an additional equal amount as liquidated damages, which are usually two times the amount of your salary. Punitive damages may also be available depending on the circumstances.