Retaliation Claim

The US Department of Labor (DOL) just published a news release related to worker retaliation. In this case, the nail salon cited agreed to pay back wages and damages, averting further litigation. In addition, they will be taking corrective measures to resolve violations that the DOL found in relation to anti-retaliation provisions of both the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). The employer will also take steps to ensure compliance with overtime requirements in compliance with the FLSA in the future.

In this specific case, an employee raised concerns regarding health and safety to management when they became sick by the employer’s undiluted hand sanitizer. This employee then filed an OSHA complaint regarding the same concern. The employee was then fired and the DOL alleges that both the employee and another employee who had a close friendship with the reporter were threatened. In addition, the DOL also alleged that the employer:

  • Did not pay the proper overtime;
  • Did not maintain accurate employment records;
  • Provided false information as part of the investigation; and
  • Required employees to sign documents with false information.

The DOL filed a lawsuit. While the employer and the DOL have averted further litigation, the employer will pay:

  • $550,000-$275,000 in back wages;
  • $275,000 in liquidated damages;
  • $168,000 in OSHA “punitive and emotional distress damages” for employee 1;
  • $23,500 in OSHA “punitive damages” to employee 2; and
  • $12,000 in FLSA “punitive damages” for an employee who was forced to sign false documents.

As reported previously, a multitude of laws have anti-retaliation provisions. Southwestern HR Consulting (SWHRC) can help provide you with guidance as it relates to employment compliance. Contact SWHRC today at the link above to find out about our services and our team of experts.

Magdalena Vigil-Tullar

Written by | Magdalena Vigil-Tullar


Phone: 505-270-7494 | Email:

PO Box 14274 | Albuquerque, NM 87191

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Department of Labor FLSA OSHA Overtime Pay Retaliation Complaints