Wage and Hour Cases to Receive Mandatory Mediation Under SDNY Pilot Program
On October 3rd, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (“SDNY”) implemented its Fair Labor Standards Act Pilot Program (“Program”) in an effort to facilitate early mediation and settlement of FLSA claims.
The Program, designed to “promote the just, speedy, and inexpensive resolution” of FLSA claims, requires litigants to participate in mediation unless ordered otherwise. Under the Program, FLSA cases assigned to District Judges Abrams, Briccetti, Carter, Daniels, Ramos, Seibel, and Woods will be automatically referred for mediation, with limited pre-mediation disclosures, once the defendant appears.
Mediation will be scheduled within 60 days of the referral. Within four weeks of the referral, the litigants must confer and exchange the following information:
- Any existing documents that describe Plaintiff’s duties and responsibilities.
- Any existing records of wages paid to and hours worked by the Plaintiff (e.g., payroll records, time sheets, work schedules, wage statements, and wage notices).
- A spreadsheet from Plaintiff of alleged underpayments and other damages.
- Any existing documents from Defendant(s) describing compensation policies or practices.
- Proof of financial condition from Defendant(s), who intend to assert an inability to pay, including tax records, business records, or other documents demonstrating their financial status.
If the parties reach a settlement at mediation, the parties must present to the District Judge or Magistrate Judge, as applicable, the settlement agreement and a joint statement explaining the basis for the proposed settlement, including any provision for attorneys’ fees, and why it should be approved as “fair and reasonable,” pursuant to Cheeks v. Freeport Pancake House, Inc., 796 F.3d 199 (2d Cir. 2015).
This Program expands the SDNY’s November 2015 pilot program, which automatically refers counseled employment discrimination cases, except cases brought under the FLSA, for mediation.
This article contains highlights of the SDNY’s FLSA Pilot Program and is not intended to be legal advice.