According to the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA), it’s illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee for doing her job, but that’s what happened to Michelle Kavanaugh. So she sued.
As an HR director in Illinois, Kavanaugh blew the whistle on her employer, CDS Office Systems Inc. when its executives refused to do the right thing when she raised concerns over the how the company classified employees as either exempt or nonexempt. The former classification reflects management responsibilities and means that those workers are exempt from receiving overtime pay. Nonexempt employee hours are tracked, and they are entitled to overtime pay, per the FLSA.
In June 2012, two IT technicians at the company had objected to their exempt status. They claimed they were entitled to overtime pay. Kavanaugh looked into the matter, investigating both FLSA overtime classification issues and the nature of the technicians’ job duties, which included installing customer workstations and servers.
Kavanaugh concluded that they were not exempt employees, were improperly classified and deserved to be paid overtime for any hours they worked in excess of 40 each week. When she reported the results of her inquiry, her boss told her to make the issue “go away.”
She told him that she couldn’t because “the law is what the law is and as an employer we have to follow it.” He repeated his requested, she repeated her answer.
Not long after, she was terminated. The reason her bosses gave her was a reduction in force/job consolidation.
As if. Kavanaugh’s lawsuit alleges that her termination violated the FLSA’s anti-retaliation provisions, Illinois common law and the Illinois Whistleblower Act.
Read the whole story on HR.BLR.com.