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Foster v. Reina Cosmetics Inc.

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division

June 12, 2019

NICOLETTE S. FOSTER, Plaintiff,
v.
REINA COSMETICS, INC. d/b/a #1 BEAUTY SUPPLY & RIAD ELKHATIB, Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          GREGORY J. KELLY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This cause came on for consideration without oral argument on the following motion:

MOTION: JOINT MOTION AND STIPULATION FOR APPROVAL OF SETTLEMENT AND DISMISSAL WITH PREJUDICE AND SUPPORTING MEMORANDUM OF LAW (Doc. No. 17)
FILED: June 11, 2019
THEREON it is RECOMMENDED that the motion be GRANTED.

         I. BACKGROUND.

         On September 21, 2018, Plaintiff filed a five count Complaint against Defendants for sexual harassment, hostile work environment, retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e, et seq, as amended by the Civil Rights Act of 1991 and the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992, Chapter 760 et seq., and for unpaid overtime wages, pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (the “FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201 et seq. Doc. No. 1. On June 11, 2019, the parties filed a joint motion for approval of a Settlement Agreement (“Agreement”) solely as to Plaintiff's FLSA claim which is Count V of the Complaint (“the Motion”). Doc. Nos. 1 and 17.

         II. LAW.

         In Lynn's Food Stores, Inc. v. United States Department of Labor, 679 F.2d 1350, 1352-53 (11th Cir. 1982), the Eleventh Circuit addressed the means by which an FLSA settlement may become final and enforceable:

There are only two ways in which back wage claims arising under the FLSA can be settled or compromised by employees. First, under section 216(c), the Secretary of Labor is authorized to supervise payment to employees of unpaid wages owed to them . . . . The only other route for compromise of FLSA claims is provided in the context of suits brought directly by employees against their employer under section 216(b) to recover back wages for FLSA violations. When employees bring a private action for back wages under the FLSA, and present to the district court a proposed settlement, the district court may enter a stipulated judgment after scrutinizing the settlement for fairness.

         Thus, unless the parties have the Secretary of Labor supervise the payment of unpaid wages owed or obtain the Court's approval of the settlement agreement, the parties' agreement is unenforceable. Id.; see also Sammons v. Sonic-North Cadillac, Inc., No. 6:07-cv-277-Orl-19DAB, 2007 WL 2298032, at *5 (M.D. Fla. Aug. 7, 2007) (noting that settlement of FLSA claim in arbitration proceeding is not enforceable under Lynn's Food because it lacked Court approval or supervision by the Secretary of Labor). Before approving an FLSA settlement, the Court must scrutinize it to determine if it is a fair and reasonable resolution of a bona fide dispute. Lynn's Food Store, 679 F.2d at 1354-55. If the settlement reflects a reasonable compromise over issues that are actually in dispute, the Court may approve the settlement. Id. at 1354.

         In determining whether the settlement is fair and reasonable, the Court should consider the following factors:

(1) the existence of collusion behind the settlement;
(2) the complexity, expense, and likely duration of the ...

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