Paper on KASTEN v. SAINT-GOBAIN PERFORMANCE PLASTICS CORP.

| June 14, 2018

Employment Law Case Brief and PresentationWrite a case brief using the IRAC method.Createan 8- to 10-slide Microsoft® PowerPoint® presentation in which your team members summarize how the legal concepts in the selected case can be applied within a business managerial setting. NEED A INTRO, CONCLUSION AND 2 SLIDES USING THE ANALYSIS PORTION OF THE IRAC METHOD ONLY INCLUDING SPEAKER NOTES.REFERENCES MUST BE CITED IN APA FORMATKASTEN v. SAINT-GOBAIN PERFORMANCE PLASTICS
CORP.53 U.S. ___ (2011)Petitioner Kasten brought an antiretaliation
suitagainst his former employer, respondent (Saint-Gobain), under the Fair Labor Standards Act of
1938(Act), which provides minimum wage, maximum
hour,and overtime pay rules; and which forbids
employers“to discharge . . . any employee because such
employee[continued]has filed any complaint” alleging a violation of
theAct, 29 U. S. C. §215(a)(3). In a related suit,
the DistrictCourt found that Saint-Gobain violated the Actby placing timeclocks in a location that
preventedworkers from receiving credit for the time they
spentdonning and doffing work related protective
gear.In this suit Kasten claims that he was
dischargedbecause he orally complained to company
officialsabout the timeclocks. The District Court grantedSaint-Gobain summary judgment, concluding that
theAct’s antiretaliation provision did not cover
oral complaints.The Seventh Circuit affirmed. Justice Breyerdelivered the opinion of the Court in which
Chief JusticeRoberts, and Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Alitoand Sotomayor joined. Justice Scalia filed a
dissentingopinion in which Justice Thomas joined in part.
JusticeKagan took no part in the consideration or decision
ofthe case.BREYER, J.: The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938(Act) sets forth employment rules concerning
minimumwages, maximum hours, and overtime pay. 52Stat. 1060, 29 U. S. C. §201 et seq. The Act
contains anantiretaliation provision that forbids employers“to discharge or in any other manner
discriminateagainst any employee because such employee hasfiled any complaint or instituted or caused to
beinstituted any proceeding under or related to
[theAct], or has testified or is about to testify in
suchproceeding, or has served or is about to serve
on anindustry committee.” §215(a)(3) (emphasis
added).We must decide whether the statutory term “filed
anycomplaint” includes oral as well as written
complaintswithin its scope. We conclude that it does.I The petitioner, Kevin Kasten, brought this
antiretaliationlawsuit against his former employer, Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corporation. Kastensays that where Kasten and other workers put on
(andtake off) their work-related protective gear and
thearea where they carry out their assigned tasks.
Thatlocation prevented workers from receiving credit
forthe time they spent putting on and taking off
theirwork clothes—contrary to the Act’s requirements.
Ina related suit the District Court agreed with
Kasten,finding that Saint-Gobain’s “practice of not
compensating. . . for time spent donning and doffing certainrequired protective gear and walking to work
areas”violated the Act. Kasten v. Saint-Gobain
PerformancePlastics Corp., 556 F. Supp. 2d 941, 954 (WD
Wis.2008). In this suit Kasten claims unlawful
retaliation.He says that Saint-Gobain discharged him because
heorally complained to Saint-Gobain officials
about thetimeclocks.In particular, Kasten says that he repeatedly
calledthe unlawful timeclock location to
Saint-Gobain’sattention— in accordance with Saint-Gobain’s
internalgrievance resolution procedure. See Brief for
Petitioner4 (quoting Saint-Gobain’s Code of Ethics and
BusinessConduct as imposing upon every employee “the
responsibilityto report . . . suspected violations of . . .
anyapplicable law of which he or she becomes
aware”); id.,at 4–5 (quoting Saint-Gobain’s Employee Policy
Handbookas instructing employees with “questions,
complaints,and problems” to“[c]ontact” their “supervisor[s]immediately” and if necessary “take the issue to
thenext level of management,” then to the “local
HumanResources Manager,” then to “Human Resources”
personnelat the “Regional” or “Headquarters” level).Kasten adds that he “raised a concern” with hisshift supervisor that “it was illegal for the
time clocksto be where they were” because of Saint-Gobain’sexclusion of “the time you come in and start
doingstuff”; he told a human resources employee that
“ifthey were to get challenged on” the location in
court,“they would lose”; he told his lead operator
that thelocation was illegal and that he “was thinking
aboutstarting a lawsuit about the placement of the
timeclocks”; and he told the human resources managerand the operations manager that he thought the
locationwas illegal and that the company would “lose” incourt. Record in No. 3:07–cv–00686–bbc (WD
Wis.),Doc.87–3, pp. 31–34 (deposition of Kevin
Kasten).This activity, Kasten concludes, led the company
todiscipline him and, in December 2006, to dismiss
him.Saint-Gobain presents a different version of
events.It denies that Kasten made any significant
complaintabout the timeclock location. And it says that
it dismissedKasten simply because Kasten, after beingrepeatedly warned, failed to record his comings
andgoings on the timeclock.For present purposes we accept Kasten’s versionof these contested events as valid. See Scott v.
Harris,550 U. S. 372, 380 (2007). That is because the
DistrictCourt entered summary judgment in Saint-Gobain’sfavor. . . . Kasten sought certiorari. And in
light ofconflict among the Circuits as to whether an
oral complaintis protected, we granted Kasten’s petition. . .
.The sole question presented is whether “an oral
complaintof a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act”is “protected conduct under the [Act’s]
anti-retaliationprovision.” Pet. for Cert. i. The Act protects
employeeswho have “filed any complaint,” 29 U. S. C.
§215(a)(3),and interpretation of this phrase “depends upon
readingthe whole statutory text, considering the
purposeand context of the statute, and consulting anyprecedents or authorities that inform the
analysis,”[continued]693[continued]Dolan v. Postal Service, 546 U. S. 481, 486
(2006).This analysis leads us to conclude that the
language ofthe provision, considered in isolation, may be
open tocompeting interpretations. But considering the
provisionin conjunction with the purpose and context
leadsus to conclude that only one interpretation is
permissible.We begin with the text of the statute. The word“filed” has different relevant meanings in
different contexts.. . .The bottom line is that the text, taken
alone,cannot provide a conclusive answer to our
interpretivequestion. The phrase “filed any complaint”
might, ormight not, encompass oral complaints. We must
lookfurther. . . .Why would Congress want to limit the enforcementscheme’s effectiveness by inhibiting use of the
Act’scomplaint procedure by those who would find it
difficultto reduce their complaints to writing,
particularlyilliterate, less educated, or overworked
workers? . . .In the years prior to the passage of the Act,
illiteracyrates were particularly high among the poor. . .
.To limit the scope of the antiretaliation
provision tothe filing of written complaints would also take
neededflexibility from those charged with the Act’s
enforcement.It could prevent Government agencies fromusing hotlines, interviews, and other oral
methods ofreceiving complaints. . . . To fall within the
scope ofthe antiretaliation provision, a complaint must
be sufficientlyclear and detailed for a reasonable employerto understand it, in light of both content and
context,as an assertion of rights protected by the
statute anda call for their protection. This standard can
be met,however, by oral complaints, as well as by
writtenones. . . .Second, given Congress’ delegation of
enforcementpowers to federal administrative agencies, wealso give a degree of weight to their views
about themeaning of this enforcement language. . . . The
Secretaryof Labor has consistently held the view thatthe words “filed any complaint” cover oral, as
wellas written, complaints. . . . The EEOC has set
fortha similar view in its Compliance Manual . . .
Theseagency views are reasonable. They are consistent
withthe Act. . . . We conclude that the Seventh
Circuit erredin determining that oral complaints cannot fall
withinthe scope of the phrase “filed any complaint” in
theAct’s antiretaliation provision. We leave it to
the lowercourts to decide whether Kasten will be able to
satisfythe Act’s notice requirement. We vacate the
Circuit’sjudgment and remand the case for further
proceedings
consistent with this opinion.

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