FLSA – Emotional Distress Damages


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit concluded that the Fair Labor Standards Act allows an employee to recover damages for emotional distress due to retaliation. The damages provision of the FLSA permits a retaliation victim to receive “legal or equitable relief,” including “employment, reinstatement, promotion, the payment of wages lost and an additional equal amount as liquidated damages.” In Pineda v. JTCH Apartments, L.L.C., the Fifth Circuit determined that this language encompassed the payment of damages for the employee’s emotional injuries suffered as the result of the employer’s illegal retaliatory conduct. In so holding, the Fifth Circuit joined the two other federal appellate courts – the Sixth and Seventh Circuits – that have also found emotional distress damages available for FLSA retaliation claims.