Author: Hans & Associates, P.C.
Typically, when parties would settle their disputes over Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) issues, such as minimum wage and overtime claims, they had to present their settlement agreement to a U.S. District judge for approval. Because judges routinely approved FLSA settlement agreements, the approval process became a perfunctory procedure. Today with strains on federal and state budgets, courts and other agencies sustaining heavy workloads feel the financial crunch and the need to make processes more efficient. Reuters reported on a ruling from U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan, who rendered a decision that parties in FSLA disputes can settle and voluntarily dismiss cases without judicial approval. Of course, employers do so at their own risk that any release may not be considered effective in future litigation. There is a substantial body of precedent that holding that, when employers settle an FLSA dispute without Department of Labor (DOL) or court approval, the same employee still has the legal right to bring another lawsuit.
Reuters quoted Attorney Stephen Hans in the article as saying that while this judge’s decision is not binding on other courts, it may compel other judges to follow suit. When judges routinely do not alter settlements, why should they cost clients the time to go down to the courthouse for a judge’s seal of approval?
It is a fact that wage and hour cases in federal courts are multiplying like amoebas. Removing the barriers to reaching settlements is a boon for both the court system and parties to FSLA cases because it saves time and expense for everyone.
At Hans & Associates, our New York employment defense lawyers stay current with employment law changes that affect business owners. We devote a significant part of our practice to litigating wage and hour disputes.