Choose one: Settlement or class-action lawsuit — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Choose one: Settlement or class-action lawsuit

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Guess what: You can’t press forward with a wage-and-hour class-action suit after you’ve already settled with the organization you’re suing.

So said the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals when it tossed a class-action bid brought by two former T-Mobile sales reps.

Mentha Smith and her son, Justin Gossett, filed the suit in 2005, arguing that the company violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by regularly requiring sales representatives to work off the clock to avoid paying them full wages.

The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California originally granted Smith’s and Gossett’s motion for class certification, but later reversed that order. They appealed to the 9th Circuit, and both sides stipulated that they would maintain an interest in the case even if they settled.

But Judge Barry Silverman of the 9th Circuit ruled Smith and Gossett couldn’t reserve rights on behalf of a class because 9th Circuit case law does not permit FLSA class actions to go forward after the original plaintiffs have settled.

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