Can an individual employee privately settle a claim under the Fair Labor Standards Act, or does a settlement always need approval from a court or the Department of Labor? The conventional wisdom pre-July 24 said the latter. But conventional wisdom got the heave-ho on July 24 in Martin, et al. v. Spring Break ‘83 Productions LLC, et al. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held that a private settlement agreement is enforceable if an employer and an employee have a bona fide dispute as to the amount of hours the employee worked or as to the compensation due to the employee. It is good to see the courts treating employees like adults.
Editor's note: Due to an error by managing editor Anne K. McMillan, a previous headline for this post incorrectly identified the relevant government department.