November 2010 Archives

November 8, 2010

Court Upholds Retaliation Claims

An Ohio man who successfully sued his employer under the Age Discrimination in
Employment Act (ADEA) prevailed once again on appeal in front of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. Jon Spengler was fifty-three years old when he started as a seasonal employee in charge of spray-washing pressure cylinders designed to hold propane and other industrial gases. Despite his above average performance, Spengler was repeatedly not promoted to regular full-time status like many of his high-achieving counterparts.

A supervisor attempted to quell Spengler's questions about promotion by telling Spengler that he would recommend a transfer to the Steel Division because Spengler would "probably have trouble keeping up with the younger guys" in the Cylinder Division. When Spengler reported such comments to the Plant Manager, that supervisor was admonished. Less than four weeks later, the plant terminated Spengler because of "negative comments" from his co-workers concerning Spengler's "attitude and interpersonal skills".

After his firing, Spengler continued to defend his right to work and filed an EEOC complaint against Worthington Cylinders. Within five months of his firing, he also retained counsel and brought the ADEA claims.

Given the notorious high standards of proof under ADEA, Spengler's age discrimination
claim did not survive summary judgment. But because he prudently raised his concerns to a supervising manager at the early stages of the situation, his retaliation claim had legs. The jury awarded him about $22K for lost wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages.

Continue reading "Court Upholds Retaliation Claims" »

November 4, 2010

Another Great FLSA Settlement Approved

Last week, a federal judge approved a $2.33 million settlement in a state based on violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The case Wilcox v. Alternative Entertainment, Inc. was litigated in the Western District of Wisconsin.

The employees were satellite installers who claimed the company failed to pay them overtime and further suffered from unlawful deductions from their pay. The class included over 900 employees in two states: Wisconsin and Michigan.

When certain employees works overtime, they may be entitled to pay at a rate of one and half times their typical hourly rate (or double time if they work particularly long hours). If you or someone in your family working overtime without being paid, you should talk with a wage and hour attorney about your rights.