Kasten v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp., 563 U.S. ___, 131 S. Ct. 1325 (2011)

Kevin Kasten alleged that his former employer, Saint-Gobain, terminated his employment because he orally complained to Saint-Gobain about the location of its time clocks, which prevented workers from receiving credit for the time they spent putting on and taking off their work clothes (in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act). The sole question presented by the case is whether an oral complaint of a violation of the FLSA is “protected conduct” under the Act’s anti-retaliation provision, which prohibits retaliation against an employee who “has filed any complaint… under or related to [the Act].” The United States Supreme Court concluded that “[s]everal functional considerations indicate that Congress intended the anti-retaliation provision to cover oral, as well as written, ‘complaints.’” Compare Tides v. The Boeing Co., 644 F.3d 809 (2011) (whistleblower provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act protects employees who disclose certain types of information to federal regulatory and law enforcement agencies, Congress and employee supervisors – but not to the media); Cafasso v. General Dynamics C4 Sys., Inc., 637 F.3d 1047 (2011) (former employee’s claim against government contractor for violation of the False Claims Act was properly dismissed pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 9(b)).