Wage & Hour Counsel
Decision May Pave Way for More Stringent FLSA Collective Action Certification Standard
In a decision that may significantly impact certification and decertification decisions in FLSA collective actions, a three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decertification of a Rule 23 class and FLSA collective action, essentially applying the standards set forth by the U.S. Supreme Court in Dukes v. Wal-Mart to an FLSA collective action.
In Espenscheid v. DirectSat USA, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 2409 (7th Cir. Feb. 4, 2013), Judge Posner, writing for the panel, expressly stated that "despite the difference between a collective action and a class action and the absence from the collective-action section of the Fair Labor Standards Act the kind of detailed procedural provisions found in Rule 23, there isn't a good reason to have different standards for the certification of the two different types of action. . . ." Noting that simplification is favored in the law and that one of the intentions of both FLSA collective actions and Rule 23 class actions is to promote efficiency, the court concluded that "we can, with no distortion in our analysis, treat the entire set of suits before us as if it were a single class action."
To learn more about the decision, please see Littler's ASAP, New Seventh Circuit Decision May Pave the Way for More Stringent Certification Standards in FLSA Collective Actions, by Laurent Badoux, Adam Wit, and Kathryn Siegel.