A federal judge has told SunTrust Banks Inc. that it cannot force workers it plans to lay off next month to drop a pending wage-and-hours suit against the bank in exchange for their severance pay.

The bank’s attempt to condition its severance packages on laid-off workers’ agreements to drop their suits is discriminatory under the Fair Labor Standards Act, according to U.S. District Judge Richard W. Story of the Northern District of Georgia. His temporary injunction, issued April 30, was to become permanent within 10 business days of its issuance, unless SunTrust objected and requested an additional hearing. The bank had not made such a move by press time on May 13.

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