FLSA Case Dismissed by Federal Court Sitting in Georgia Due to Issues Related to Employee’s Bankruptcy

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers are obligated to pay employees in accordance with certain statutes, rules, and regulations. Failure to do so can result in an Atlanta employment lawsuit being brought against the employer under the Act.

Generally speaking, an employee who is fired in retaliation for asserting his or her rights under the Act may, additionally, be able to pursue a claim for retaliatory discharge. However, a recent case explained that there are some exceptions to this general rule.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiff was a man who worked for the defendant security company for about a year between July 2015 and July 2016. In September 2017, the plaintiff filed suit against the defendant, claiming that it had fired him in retaliation for his complaints about the defendant’s alleged violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). According to the plaintiff, the defendant had violated the overtime pay requirements of FLSA, stolen wages owed to him under FLSA, and failed to pay minimum wage under FLSA.

The defendant insisted that the plaintiff was terminated because of certain job performances issues (including watching a movie on his computer while on duty and being caught asleep on the job) rather than in retaliation for his FLSA-related complaints. Accordingly, the defendant filed a motion for summary judgment.

Decision of the Court

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment. The defendant maintained that it was entitled to summary judgment on multiple grounds (judicial estoppel, lack of standing, and failure of the plaintiff’s FLSA claim on its merits), but the district court only considered the first two arguments.

According to the district court, the plaintiff was barred from pursuing his case against the defendant because of judicial estoppel in that he has failed to include his claims as potential assets when filing for bankruptcy. Furthermore, the plaintiff lacked standing to bring his claims against the defendant because he lacked standing to do so; because he had filed for bankruptcy protection from his creditors, only the bankruptcy trustee had standing to take action on the plaintiff’s FLSA claims. As to the defendant’s arguments about the merits of the plaintiff’s claims, the district court found that it was unnecessary to consider this argument, given its opinion on the judicial estoppel and standing issues.

Speak to an Atlanta Employer Law Attorney

If you believe that you have been treated unfairly by an employer who failed to comply with state or federal wage and hour laws, you need to speak to an attorney about filing a claim. There are strict deadlines for taking legal action in these and other employment law cases, so please to not delay in asserting your legal rights. If you need to schedule an appointment with an experienced Atlanta wage-and-hour lawyer to discuss your claim, please call Attorney John L. Mays at Parks, Chesin & Walbert as soon as possible. You can reach us at 404-873-8048, or you can contact us through this website.

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