Mediating a Wage Hour Case

Posted by LADR on Oct 18th, 2013 in Class Action Mediation

Wage and hour cases are often filed as collective actions under the FLSA. They are frequently settled through mediation. Unlike a case brought by one employee against an employer, however, collective cases are very complex and raise unique issues for the parties and the mediator.

A wage and hour class or collective matter can be successfully resolved at any stage. As with other types of cases, the earlier you get to the table the better, so as to minimize the cost and attorneys fees, and maximize recovery for the clients. However, complex collective actions present unique challenges in early mediation. Both sides must have a sound basis for the calculation of damages.

Regardless of whether mediation occurs before or after class certification, counsel must have access to a sufficient amount of relevant information on which to base a settlement of the claims. Affidavits will have been executed and filed with the Motion for Class Certification, and it helps immensely if counsel are working from the same sets of data. A professional and cooperative relationship between counsel can facilitate an efficient exchange of documents and data. Getting experts on board early makes a lot of sense as well.

Early negotiations often give the parties more room to negotiate, allowing class members to recover more wages more quickly. Be mindful, however, that court approval is required in these types of cases, and the data supporting the settlement must be credible and accurate. It is not uncommon for Courts to ask probing questions to ensure that the outcome is in the best interest of the class members.

“Katy did a great job mediating a complex, national collective action under the FLSA. She was able to take it layer by layer and work through multiple conflicts until we reached a settlement that worked for all parties. From a mediator’s perspective, this was as tall a task as I have seen. I would use Katy on any complex case around the country and intend to do so in the future.”

Brett Turnbull
Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP
Birmingham, AL