Southern District of New York Announces Pilot Mediation Program for FLSA Cases
Tuesday, November, 8, 2016
The Southern District of New York (SDNY) has announced the beginning of a mediation program that will apply to cases filed under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The program began the beginning of October and will apply to any cases related to federal and hourly wage laws under certain judges. Mediation sessions will occur prior to the initial scheduling conference and within 60 days of those involved receiving the order to mediate.
The mediation programs comes as the new Department of Labor overtime pay laws are about to kick in for white color workers. Employers are encouraged to anticipate an increase in litigation related to wages and hours because of the new laws. Mediation has been suggested as a way to resolve these cases quickly and efficiently.
According to the rules of the program, both parties must exchange disclosures prior to mediation concerning existing documents related to the plaintiff’s duties and responsibilities, records of wages paid, which can include time sheets, work schedules, and other documents, spreadsheets detailing underpayment, and documents related to compensation policies and practices. Defendants must also produce proof of financial conditions if the claim is made they are unable to afford legal payment. The goal is to ensure that all paperwork related to mediation is collected and reviewed in advance of the session.
If a settlement is reached, those involved must prepare a joint statement explaining the settlement and detailing attorney fees. The explanation must include why the settlement should be considered fair and reasonable. The district judge will review details of settlements before they go into effect