Dellinger v. Science Applications International Corporation, No. 10-CV-1499, 2011 BL 209386 (4th Cir. Aug. 12, 2011) A majority of a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit held that Natalie Dellinger could not sue Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) for refusing to hire her in retaliation for a suit she brought against her prior employer under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq., because Dellinger was not an SAIC employee. The majority acknowledged that the FLSA’s anti-retaliation provision, 29 U.S.C. § 215(a)(3), makes it unlawful for “any person” to retaliate against any employee, but held that the FLSA’s enforcement provision, 29 U.S.C. § 216(b), only authorizes employees to sue their current or former employers for retaliation, and that an applicant is not an “employee.” Circuit Judge Robert King dissented, accusing the majority of ignoring binding Supreme Court and Fourth Circuit precedent and opining that Dellinger was an employee within the FLSA’s definition.
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