A former account manager at T.S. Designs (Burlington T-Shirt) recently filed a lawsuit alleging that she was terminated in retaliation for her inquiries about the company’s wage and hour policies in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and North Carolina wage and hour laws.

In her complaint, Cara McCollum alleges that she contacted the U.S. Department of Labor to ask about the legality of a number of Burlington’s wage and hour policies for account managers, including one that involved them paying part of their hourly wages back to the employer when overtime hours were worked and commissions were earned.  After receiving confirmation from the DOL that these policies were illegal, McCollum informed her employer. Nine days later, Burlington fired her.


McCollum alleges that “[h]er firing was in close temporal proximity to her letter to her employer and to her call to the Department of Labor, demonstrating that her firing was in retaliation.”

The FLSA is a federal law that establishes minimum wage and overtime protections for many American workers. Enforced by the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division, the FLSA also prohibits retaliation against employees who file a complaint with the DOL or their employer, or who cooperate in an FLSA investigation. Retaliation can include termination, disciplinary action, or any other adverse consequences.