Silent Workers, Disappearing Rights: Confidential Settlements and the Fair Labor Standards Act

Source: Elizabeth Wilkins, Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law, Vol. 34 no. 1, 2013
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The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) sets minimum wages and maximum hours for the nation’s workers. Nevertheless, employers steal billions of dollars each year from low-wage workers. This article argues that a faithful reading of the FLSA requires courts to bar confidential settlements of claims brought under the statute. A rule against confidentiality would make public a significant amount of information about wage theft. That information is a prerequisite to encouraging individual workers to enforce their rights and to generating broader public awareness about the epidemic of wage theft that low-wage workers face.