The U.S. Supreme Court this week refused to consider an appeal brought by an IBM employee claiming that he was forced to leave the company in retaliation for his complaint about unpaid overtime. In the case, employee Michael Saville had worked for the company for 32 years before he accepted early retirement in October 1998. Saville filed suit afterwards claiming that he was forced to leave because he had filed certain complaints with IBM that it was violating federal labor law by requiring employees to work overtime without being paid.
The company claimed that Saville was offered the choice to take early retirement due to unsatisfactory performance that had nothing to do with his allegations of unpaid overtime. Importantly, the Supreme Court ruled that Saville had made only general, limited complaints about overtime that did not qualify for protection under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The Supreme Court affirmed the verdict of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals and refused to hear Mr. Saville’s appeal. This case stresses the importance of consulting a knowledgeable attorney concerning unpaid overtime so that any claims can be stated clearly, legally, and forcefully.