Can I be fired for filing an overtime claim?
Not legally and not without risking a substantial penalty. The FLSA specifically provides that it is “unlawful for any person … to discharge or in any other manner discriminate against any employee because such employee has filed any complaint or instituted any or caused to be instituted any proceeding under or related to this Act, or has testified or is about to testify in any such proceeding.”
An employer who retaliates or discriminates against an employee in violation of this statute is potentially subject to fines or even criminal prosecution, and the affected employee is entitled to “legal or equitable relief … including without limitation employment, reinstatement, promotion, and the payment of wages lost and an additional equal amount” plus attorneys’ fees and court costs. Punitive damages are available in appropriate cases, and “anti-retaliation” cases may be brought against individuals as well as institutional employers. In addition to “firing” cases, retaliation has been found when employers blacklisted employees who made FLSA claims, refused to hire applicants who had made FLSA claims at other jobs, fired relatives, reduced job responsibilities, assigned employees to unpopular job duties or shifts, disciplined employees out of proportion to past disciplinary practices, reduced performance evaluations, and declined to recommend “normal” raises.