Nixed by Federal Appeals Court
No good unless approved
by Court or US DOL
Earlier this month the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Department of Labor regulation and ruled that private releases of FMLA rights, such as in settlement agreements or severance agreements, are invalid. Only those approved by a court or the DOL are enforceable. Taylor v Progress Energy, Inc.
The Seventh Circuit has not addressed this question - yet - and there is no case law from the Northern District of Illinois that either plaintiffs or employers can rely on. Therefore: 1) the Fourth Circuit decision has no effect in Illinois, but 2) because so few courts have ruled on this point, know that to a small degree employers include the FMLA in releases at their peril.
We note that in the Taylor appeal even the US Department of Labor filed a brief on the side of the employer, claiming that the regulation was never intended to bar the use of waivers for settlement of claims of past FMLA violations.