SOLVING UNFAIR OR DANGEROUS EMPLOYMENT CONDITIONS « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles


Is There a Wrong or Right Way to Complain?

Kevin Kasten says he complained to his employer Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corporation about an improper location of the company time clock and that the company illegally retaliated against him as a result.

Saint-Gobain says it could not have retaliated against Kasten as his protest was only verbal, not written, and thus did not count as a “complaint.”

After the local court decided for the employee and the appeals court decided for the employer, the Supreme Court of the United States will have the final say. The highest court’s decision could deeply impact how employees complain and how employers and HR managers respond to such concerns.

The problem comes from apparent contradictions in the law. The original 1938 federal Fair Labor Standards Act established that any communication from an employee to a supervisor about possible violations was a “complaint” that gave the U.S. Department of Labor authority to investigate. Later laws specified that such complaints must be made in writing.

For more information and updates on Kasten v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corporation, including audio of the recent oral arguments, check out the official Supreme Court website.