Can I sue my former employer for retaliatory firing?

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A salaried employee who refused to work extra hours “because she was not getting paid for them” may bring a lawsuit against her former employer for firing her based on her refusal.
The Fair Labor Standards Act provides that it is unlawful for any person to fire or discriminate against any employee because the employee institutes a proceeding under the Act, testifies in any such proceeding, or serves on an industry committee. Although the law does not mention informal complaints about not getting paid for overtime hours as a basis for an action, a federal court in Illinois has ruled that an employee may file a retaliatory discharge claim based upon such informal complaints.
The Illinois court found that the Fair Labor Standards Act was intended to correct and eliminate the existence of unpaid overtime in the workplace; therefore, the portions of the Act prohibiting retaliation should be read to include informal complaints that imply an employer is violating an employee’s rights under the Act. This is true even though the employee did not mention the Act or that her employer’s actions were illegal in some way when she made her complaints.
The employee simply told her employer that she would not work the extra hours that management had requested of each employee because she was not getting paid for the additional work. She stated that she would have to get her babysitter to stay longer and she just did not like working extra hours. After having a dispute with her boss about when she would make up her extra hours, the employee was fired for insubordination. Her case is now awaiting trial.