06/21/2015 // Dallas, Texas, United States // Attorney Keith Clouse // Keith Clouse // (press release)
Parties involved in an employment dispute usually settle with an agreement that provides for the employee’s release and waiver of any future claims arising out of the employment relationship. But, as the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently explained, such a waiver may not always waive an employee’s claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Bodle v. TXL Mort. Corp., No. 14-20224 (5th Cir. June 1, 2015), available at http://www.ca5.uscourts.gov/opinions/pub/14/14-20224-CV0.pdf.
The FLSA requires employers to pay employees for all hours worked and to pay an overtime rate for all hours worked beyond forty in a workweek. Because of the unequal bargaining power between employers and employees, the FLSA forbids waiver of an employee’s right to statutory wages or liquidated damages. An exception exists, however, if the waiver is made in a dispute over wages. In these instances, courts will uphold a waiver if it resolves a bona fide dispute over a wage claim. A general waiver made in a dispute over an unrelated issue–such as in a dispute over race discrimination or a dispute over a nonsolicitation agreement–will not likely be upheld by a court. Dallas employment lawyer Keith Clouse cautions employers to keep this point in mind when negotiating settlement agreements.
This article is presented by the Dallas employment attorneys at Clouse Dunn LLP. To speak to an employment law attorney, send an email to [email protected] or call (214) 239-2705.
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