Does Florida Whistleblower Law Protect Employees When Complaining About Failure To Pay Overtime?
For more than twenty years, our Marion County, Florida whistleblower lawyers have represented Florida employees who have exercised their employee rights by complaining about an employer’s violation of the law. Through their decades of experience representing whistleblowers, our Ocala, Florida whistleblower attorneys know that employers routinely do not pay employees overtime pay in compliance with federal employment law. In this article, our Marion County, Florida whistleblower lawyers explain how Florida whistleblower law protects employees when they complain about an employer’s failure to pay overtime compensation.
Rights Of Florida Whistleblowers
The Florida Whistleblower Act protects employees from retaliation when they complain about an employer’s violation of the law. The Florida Whistleblower Act protects Florida employees from retaliation when they complain about an employer’s failure to pay overtime compensation because of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The U.S. Congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act, as the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals observed in Shahriar v. Smith & Wollensky Rest. Grp., Inc., 659 F.3d 234 (2d Cir. 2011), to “protect workers and ensure that they are not subjected to working conditions detrimental to the maintenance of the minimum standard of living necessary for health, efficiency, and general well-being.” In promoting this goal, the Fair Labor Standards Act imposes “wage and hour” requirements on employers, including an overtime provision requiring employers to pay non-exempt employees time-and-a-half for each hour worked in excess of forty hours during any given workweek. An employer’s failure to pay employees overtime compensation to which they are entitled constitutes a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
In order to preserve and protect employee rights, the Fair Labor Standards Act also contains a retaliation provision. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers are forbidden from retaliating against employees who complain about not being paid overtime compensation. Because an employer’s failure to pay employees overtime compensation in compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act constitutes a violation of the law, Florida employees are also protected from retaliation by the Florida Whistleblower Act when they complain about an employer’s failure to pay overtime compensation. Thus, a Florida employee who is fired in retaliation for complaining about the lack of overtime pay has a claim for retaliatory discharge under both the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Florida Whistleblower Act.
Workers Seek Whistleblower Protection
The recent decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut in James v. MetLife Group, Inc., Case No. 3:20-cv-01113, demonstrates that Florida employees are protected from retaliation when they complain about an employer’s failure to pay overtime in compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act. In that case, Tenisha James (James) and Natasha Jarvis (Jarvis) brought a retaliatory discharge case under the Fair Labor Standards Act. James and Jarvis were employed through a temporary staffing agency, AppleOne, at MetLife Group, Inc. (MetLife). James and Jarvis allege that MetLife fired them because they complained that MetLife did not pay for overtime hours.
On Wednesday, June 24, 2020, James and Jarvis jointly called an employee of AppleOne, Harris, to complain that they were not paid overtime by MetLife. Around noon the following Monday, June 29, 2020, James and Jarvis each received a phone call from Harris informing them that MetLife had terminated their employment. MetLife admitted that the decision to fire James and Jarvis was made on Thursday, June 25, 2020, the day after James and Jarvis had first complained to Harris about the lack of overtime pay.
Whistleblowers Get Jury Trial
MetLife filed a motion with the trial court seeking dismissal of the retaliatory discharge claims asserted by James and Jarvis. In support of its motion for dismissal, MetLife argued that the MetLife employee who made the decision to fire James and Jarvis did not know they had complained about the lack of overtime pay when the termination decision was made. Because the decision-maker did not know they complained, MetLife argued, the decision-maker could not have fired them in retaliation for their complaint about lack of overtime pay.
In denying MetLife’s motion for dismissal, the trial court found that James and Jarvis had presented sufficient evidence to enable a reasonable jury to conclude that the decision-maker had knowledge of James’ and Jarvis’ complaints when the termination decision was made. The trial court also explained that if a reasonable jury were to conclude that the decision-maker learned of James’ and Jarvis’ complaint before the termination decision was made, “then the almost immediate temporal proximity” between the employees’ complaint and the employees’ termination “might well convince the jury that the [termination] was retaliatory in nature.” Consequently, the trial court ruled that whether James and Jarvis were unlawfully fired in retaliation for complaining about not being paid overtime compensation was an issue for a jury to resolve at trial.
Free Employment Law Consultation
When confronted with workplace issues, one of the most important decisions employees have to make is which employment law attorneys to contact for legal advice. At our employee rights law firm, an experienced employment law attorney will speak with you personally and you will receive the individualized attention your case deserves. We offer free confidential case evaluations and you will never have to pay to speak with our employment law attorneys regarding your workplace issues.
Marion County, FL Whistleblower Lawyers
Based in Ocala, Florida and representing employees throughout Central Florida, our Marion County, Florida whistleblower attorneys have fought for the rights of employees for more than twenty years. If you have been retaliated against for complaining about an employer’s violation of the law or have questions about your rights as a whistleblower, please contact our office for a free consultation with our Ocala, Florida whistleblower lawyers.