Hunter v. Cash Saver Groceries
OPINION. Signed by Honorable Judge Myron H. Thompson on 3/9/2016. (kh, )
IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA, NORTHERN DIVISION
JERRY "VIRGIL" HUNTER,
BIG DADDY FOODS, INC.,
CIVIL ACTION NO.
Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201-219.
reasons that follow, the settlement will be approved,
albeit with two provisions struck.
APPROVAL OF SETTLEMENT
“Because the FLSA was enacted to protect workers
from the poor wages and long hours that can result from
mandatory and, except in two narrow circumstances, are
modification by contract or settlement.”
Novar Corp., 293 F. Supp. 2d 1260, 1262 (M.D. Ala.
O’Neil, 324 U.S. 697, 706 (1945)).
Secretary of Labor under 29 U.S.C. § 216(c); the second
determines that it is a “fair and reasonable resolution
of a bonda fide dispute over FLSA provisions.”
1353, 1355 (11th Cir. 1982).
In this case, there is a bona fide dispute over the
amount of back wages owed to Hunter.
damages) and his attorney will receive the same amount
in fees--the court concludes that it is a fair and
reasonable resolution of this dispute, except to the
extent discussed below.1
CONFIDENTIALITY AND NON-DISPARAGEMENT PROVISIONS
agreement (doc. no. 16, ex. A, at 4-5) prohibit Hunter
from disclosing its terms, and from making any public
statements regarding “any problems, issues, or concerns
he perceives he may have had, including but not limited
agreement says that the only statement that Hunter may
make concerning this case is: “The matter was settled
1. The court notes that the parties agreed, during
a conference call held on the record on March 8, 2016,
that there is a typographical error on the second page
of the settlement agreement (doc. no. 16, ex. A), and
that subsection A(a) should read as follows, with the
addition underlined: “pay in one check ... the sum of
two thousand two hundred fifty and 00/100 dollars
($ 2,250.00) less legally required withholdings....”
During a conference call held on the record
on March 8, 2016, the court informed the parties that
it would not approve a settlement agreement containing
object to the approval of the proposed agreement with
As this court has repeatedly held, confidentiality
compelling reason, the sealing from public scrutiny of
FLSA agreements between employees and employers would
thwart the public’s independent interest in assuring
that employees’ wages are fair and thus do not endanger
‘the national health and well-being.’”
F. Supp. 2d at 1264 (quoting Brooklyn Sav. Bank, 324
U.S. at 706); see also Dees v. Hydradry, Inc., 706 F.
Supp. 2d 1227, 1242 (M.D. Fla. 2010) (Merryday, J.) (“A
agreement ... contravenes the legislative purpose of
Disappearing Rights: Confidential Settlements and the
Fair Labor Standards Act, 34 Berkeley J. Emp. & Lab. L.
109, 114 (2013) (“Individual plaintiffs in FLSA suits
... do not merely vindicate their own rights but also
employer wrongdoing and to know that judges are acting
effectively to punish that wrongdoing.”); id. at 119
n.47 (collecting cases that have refused to seal FLSA
proposed settlement agreement is unacceptable for much
the same reason: It forbids Hunter from discussing his
2. As a practical matter, “the confidentiality
provisions are likely unenforceable in light of the
public filing of the Settlement Agreement.” Poulin v.
Gen. Dynamics Shared Res., Inc., 3:09-CV-58, 2010 WL
1813497, at *2 (W.D. Va. May 5, 2010) (Moon, J.).
claims and their resolution.3
Although the defendant in
a FLSA case may “worry that settling with one employee
will encourage other employees to assert FLSA rights,”
providing notice to employees is a core purpose of the
provision “thwarts ... by silencing the employee who
has vindicated a disputed FLSA right.”
Dees, 706 F.
Supp. 2d at 1242; see also Wilkins, Silent Workers,
Disappearing Rights, 34 Berkeley J. Emp. & Lab. L. at
134 & n.120 (“Confidentiality contravenes the notice
employees[’] right to know what they ought to be paid.”
(citing 29 U.S.C. § 211)).
An appropriate judgment will be entered.
DONE, this the 9th day of March, 2016.
/s/ Myron H. Thompson____
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
3. The court has no occasion here to address
provision might be permissible.
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