Employee Protections From Employer Retaliation

Every employee has the right to file a claim or participate in a lawsuit for wage violations. However, individuals are often nervous or apprehensive about filing a lawsuit or even talking to their Human Resources Department or an administrative agency, such as the Department of Labor, because they are afraid that they will lose their job.

If your employer doesn’t pay you minimum wage, overtime wages for hours worked over 40, fails to pay you altogether, or engages in other types of illegal pay practices, you are entitled to recover those wages under both state and federal wage laws and your exercise of those rights should not subject you to retaliatory acts from your employer. The following are examples of acts that could be considered retaliatory if done in response to your participation in a federal or state wage investigation, complaint, or lawsuit:

(1) Discharging a current employee because the employee filed a complaint under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) or Wisconsin law;

(2) Discharging a current employee because the employee testified in a proceeding related to the FLSA or Wisconsin law;

(3) Disparaging a former employee in conversations with future employers because the employee filed a complaint or participated in a proceeding related to the FLSA or Wisconsin law;

(4) Discharging the spouse of an employee who works for the same company and files a complaint or participates in a proceeding related to the FLSA or Wisconsin law;

(5) Discharging a current employee for contacting an administrative agency to inquire about potential wage violations, even if the employee did not file a formal complaint;

(6) Harassing an employee who filed a complaint or otherwise participated in a proceeding related to the FLSA or Wisconsin law;

(7) Taking away shifts or work hours from an employee who filed a complaint or otherwise participated in a proceeding related to the FLSA or Wisconsin law;

(8) Reducing the pay of an employee who filed a complaint or otherwise participated in a proceeding related to the FLSA or Wisconsin law;

(9) Reassigning an employee who filed a complaint or otherwise participated in a proceeding related to the FLSA to another jobsite; and

(10) Assigning additional work hours or tasks to an employee who filed a complaint or otherwise participated in a proceeding related to the FLSA.

If you or someone you know has a question about wage violations, contact Hawks Quindel at 414-271-8650 to speak with an experienced wage and hour attorney for a free consultation. Don’t be afraid to exercise your rights!

Summer Murshid

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