The Limits of Comprehensive Peace: The Example of the FLSA

40 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2016 Last revised: 16 Aug 2017

See all articles by Lonny Hoffman

Lonny Hoffman

University of Houston Law Center

Christian Ward

Yetter Coleman

Date Written: June 28, 2017


Normally, cases can be settled on broad terms that release all related claims. Although there are added protections that must be satisfied when a settlement is proposed in the class action context (which are provided by insisting on judicial approval of the proposed deal), even then the class representatives and defendant can usually agree to compromise the class’s ability to later bring all transactionally-related claims. But how should the law deal with cases that involve multiple claims with different claim-vindication procedures? In this paper we consider the FLSA, which is one of the most important examples of such a law. For decades, courts have consistently held that workers aggrieved by an employer’s statutory violations may not use modern opt-out class action procedures to vindicate their rights. A frequently litigated, but unsettled question is whether a class action brought alleging state law wage and hour claims can be settled on terms that require absent class members to release both state and federal claims, even though the federal claims could not have been asserted through the class suit. We argue that this form of settlement is not permitted by the statutory text and that our construction is consistent with the legislative history.

Keywords: FLSA, Practice and Procedure

Suggested Citation

Hoffman, Lonny and Ward, Christian, The Limits of Comprehensive Peace: The Example of the FLSA (June 28, 2017). 38 Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law 265 (2017), U of Houston Law Center No. 2016-A-19, Available at SSRN: or

Lonny Hoffman (Contact Author)

University of Houston Law Center ( email )

4604 Calhoun Road
Houston, TX 77204-6060
United States
713-743-5206 (Phone)

Christian Ward

Yetter Coleman

909 Fannin Street
Suite 3600
Houston, TX 77010
United States

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