Does a 'Good Faith Belief' About an Illegal Pay Practice Support an FLSA Retaliation Claim?
Despite a recent ruling, if an employee you have classified as exempt complains about overtime pay, do not assume it is safe to retaliate.
April Hurd worked as a nurse's aide for Blossom 24 Hour We Care Center. The company fired her 10 days after she complained about unpaid overtime. Easy case for the employee? If you think this is an open-and-shut case of retaliation under the FLSA, you are mistaken.
In Hurd v. Blossom 24 Hour We Care Center, Inc. (Ohio Ct. App. 8/2/12) [pdf], the court quickly disposed of Hurd's retaliation claim:
There is no evidence that Hurd engaged in protected activity by requesting overtime. The U.S. Supreme Court has held that home health care workers are not entitled to overtime compensation because they constitute FLSA-exempt "domestic service" employees. Thus, because Hurd is exempt, her request for overtime did not constitute a protected activity.