Darveau v. Detecon, Inc

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In Brief

An employee successfully argued that his former employer’s decision to file a lawsuit against him – two weeks after he sued the company under the FLSA – constituted retaliation under the act.

What Happened in Court

After being laid off, the plaintiff, Darveau, signed a release of claims with his former employer, Detecon, in exchange for a one-time payment of $50,000. Six months later, Darveau sued Detecon for unpaid wages under the FLSA. Within two weeks of filing his FLSA suit, Detecon countersued for fraud. Darveau amended his complaint to include retaliation, alleging that Detecon’s countersuit was filed in retaliation for his bringing a claim under the FLSA. The Fourth Circuit agreed with Darveau and found that Detecon’s countersuit would have been materially adverse to a reasonable employee because the employer’s actions … could well dissuade a reasonable worker from making or supporting a charge of discrimination.”