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Home » Affirmative Defenses » S.D.N.Y.: General Release Signed Following DOL Audit, Not Supervised By DOL, Not A Valid Waiver Of FLSA Rights

S.D.N.Y.: General Release Signed Following DOL Audit, Not Supervised By DOL, Not A Valid Waiver Of FLSA Rights

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Andrew Frisch

Wright v. Brae Burn Country Club, Inc.

Plaintiffs brought suit under the FLSA for alleged unpaid overtime wages. Defendants moved to dismiss Plaintiff’s complaint on several grounds. Since, all parties submitted proof outside of the four corners of the pleadings, the Court addressed the Motion as one for summary judgment. While dismissing the New York State Labor Law claims based on a valid waiver, the Court denied the portion of Defendants’ Motion seeking Judgment on Plaintiffs’ FLSA claims.

Describing the pertinent facts, the Court stated: “[a]t some point during or after plaintiffs’ employment with the Club, the United States Department of Labor (the “DOL”) conducted a wage and hour audit of the Club and determined that additional compensation was due employees. Wright was found to have been entitled to an additional $119.10, and a check for that amount, minus applicable taxes, was sent to Wright in May 2008. Plaintiffs do not dispute that Wright received a check from the Club in May 2008.”

Defendants claimed Wright waived his FLSA and NYLL claims by executing the General Release signed in the settlement of his prior claim against the Club. While Wright agreed that he had been “paid in full” by the Club in the Release and agreed to waive any “wage hour” claims he might have against defendants, courts have held that individuals’ rights under the FLSA are non-waivable, except in certain circumstances. See Brooklyn Sav. Bank v. O’Neil, 324 U.S. 697, 706-07 (1945); Simel v. JP Morgan Chase, No. 05 Civ. 9750(GBD), 2007 WL 809689, at *4 (S.D.N.Y. March 19, 2007); Le v. SITA Information Networking Computing USA, Inc., No. 07 Civ. 86(JS) (MLO), 2008 WL 724155, at *1 (E.D.N.Y. March 13, 2008). The exceptions include situations where the waiver or release of FLSA rights is given as part of a settlement supervised by a court or the Secretary of Labor. Simel, 2007 WL 809689, at *4.

Here, although Wright signed the General Release in settlement of his prior claim against the Club, the Release was not executed as part of a court or DOL-supervised settlement. Accordingly, the Court held that Wright cannot be deemed to have waived his rights under the FLSA.

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