Madeline Engel


The anti-retaliation provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act makes it unlawful for an employer to retaliate against an employee who has "filed any complaint" under the FLSA. In Kasten v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp., the Seventh Circuit declared its position in a growing circuit split as to whether an employee can "file" a verbal complaint of an alleged FLSA violation. Kasten answered the question in the negative, holding that verbal complaints are not protected activity under the Act. This note analyzes relevant Supreme Court precedent and the evolution of the circuit split, as well as principles of statutory interpretation and policy concerns implicated in determining whether one can "file" a verbal complaint under the FLSA. Drawing upon that analysis, this note questions the reasoning on which Kasten relies in reaching its result and examines the practical consequences the opinion may have on the proper functioning of the Act.