Avila v. LAPD

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Labor Law
  • Date Filed: 07-10-2014
  • Case #: 12-55931; 12-56554
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Hurwitz for the Court; Circuit Judge Silverman; Dissent by Senior District Judge Vinson
  • Full Text Opinion

When an employee’s testimony provides a motivating factor in that employee’s termination, the employer has violated the FLSA’s anti-retaliation provision, 29 U.S.C. § 215(a)(3), and the employee may recover liquidated damages.

Leonard Avila was a police officer employed by the Los Angeles Police Department (“LAPD”) when he was subpoenaed to testify in a Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) lawsuit initiated by another officer, Edward Maciel. Maciel sought overtime pay for working through lunch hours. Avila testified that he had worked through lunch hours without requesting overtime pay. The uncontested evidence showed that working lunch hours and not requesting pay was a widespread practice of employees throughout the LAPD. Following his testimony, Avila, an otherwise model employee, was terminated for insubordination for failing to report his overtime hours. Avila filed this action claiming his termination violated the FLSA anti-retaliation provision because he was terminated due to his protected testimony. The LAPD argued that it fired Avila based upon the content of his testimony, which was unprotected and amounted to an admission of insubordinate activity. The district court found for Avila on his FLSA claim and awarded liquidated damages. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit held that Avila was inappropriately terminated for his testimony. When an employee’s testimony provides a motivating factor in that employee’s termination, the employer has violated the FLSA’s anti-retaliation provision, 29 U.S.C. § 215(a)(3), and the employee may recover liquidated damages. AFFIRMED.

Advanced Search