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Cocktail party chatter: The time clock, hic, is so hard to reach!



The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday, Oct. 13, heard oral arguments in Kasten v. Saint Gobain Performance Plastics, a case that has the potential to dramatically expand litigation under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The National Association of Manufacturers, my employers, dislikes that possibility and has joined in an amicus brief in support of Saint Gobain. As our case summary explains, the lawsuit comes from an employee who orally complained about the placement of a time clock during a period of months in which he received discipline for time-clock violations. When he was terminated after the fourth offense, he sued his employer, alleging a violation of the anti-retaliation provision in the Fair Labor Standards Act. That provision makes it unlawful for an employer to terminate an employee because such employee has "filed any complaint . . .under the Act."

A transcript of the oral arguments, which featured discussion of the possibility of "filing" a complaint at a cocktail party, is online here. Is it a formal complaint is the employee has had one drink? Two? How about the supervisor?

The possible scenarios are rich: "Let me tell you, Mr. Johnson, hic, that I can't reach that, uh, uh, clock, yeah, the time clock, because it's over by the ladies room and that's too far, and you better shape up 'cause I've got a lawyer, hic...and, oh, oh, excuse me ......!"

News coverage ...

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy
rmangual@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.